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Alleged migrant ship disaster captain and deputy to remain behind bars


Italy

Alleged migrant ship disaster captain and deputy to remain behind bars

Two men accused of being in charge of a boat that sank in the Mediterranean killing more than 800 people are to remain in custody.

Mohammed Ali Malek from Libya and his alleged deputy Mahmud Bikhit from Syria were on the 20-metre former fishing boat when it capsized on April 18.

The alleged smugglers face charges including multiple manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration.

Prosecutor Giovanni Salvi: “Migrants were found in the holds and the hatches were closed to allow more people to get onto the boat’s bridge. They were all crammed into the boat but the hatches were not locked as we had previously thought.”

Around 51,000 migrants have entered Europe by crossing the Mediterranean this year, with more than 30,000 entering via Italy.

An estimated 1,800 have drowned while making the attempt the UN refugee agency says.

The migrants are fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

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