The Eritrean suspect arrested in Ethiopia and extradited to Italy | Photo: POLIZIA DI STATO
The Eritrean suspect arrested in Ethiopia and extradited to Italy | Photo: POLIZIA DI STATO

A 35-year-old Eritrean man wanted by Italian authorities on human trafficking charges has been arrested in Ethiopia and extradited to Italy. Ghebremedin Temeschen Ghebru was wanted for over a year as the alleged leader of a "transnational association operating between Central Africa, Maghreb countries, Italy and Northern Europe" for migrant trafficking, Italian police said.

A 35-year-old Eritrean wanted by international authorities on charges of criminal association to smuggle migrants and favor illegal immigration has been extradited to Italy, investigative sources said on Wednesday, October 12.

According to police, the man, identified as Ghebremedin Temeschen Ghebru, was "among the heads and promoters of a transnational association operating from Central Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan), Maghreb countries (especially Libya), Italy and Northern Europe (Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany)".

The association "was finalized at favoring illegal immigration and ordering other serious crimes," the sources said. It organized the "land route of migrants from countries in the Horn of Africa to Libya", to the "coast of the Mediterranean with Northern Europe as their final destination."

Arrest in Addis Abeba

The 35-year-old was arrested at the international airport of Addis Abeba while he was trying to board a plane to Adelaide, in Australia. The man was travelling with an Australian passport to reach a country where the organization has active members, investigators said. The arrest quickly led to the man's extradition on Wednesday.

The investigation against him was coordinated by prosecutor Marzia Sabella and her colleagues Calogero Ferrara and Giorgia Righi in Palermo, Sicily, and carried out by the flying squads in Palermo and Agrigento and by the central operational service of Italian police.

Success of international cooperation

Developments in the investigation that led to the man's arrest -- Italian police sources said -- occurred thanks to a project of international cooperation that involved judicial and police authorities in the Netherlands and Great Britain, the International Criminal Court and Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.

A key role was reportedly played by the International Police Cooperation Service (SCIP) of the Criminal Police Central Directorate which, together with the unit within the General Secretariat of Interpol in Lyon in charge of "Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants", followed the man's tracks in several countries until his exact localization and arrest.


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