Italy seizes Ger­man group’s res­cue boat in im­mi­gra­tion probe

Cape Breton Post - - World -

ROME — Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties or­dered a Ger­man group’s mi­grant res­cue ves­sel seized Wed­nes­day, al­leg­ing that its crew took on mi­grants di­rectly from smug­glers’ boats near Libya’s coast.

The ves­sel op­er­ated by Ju­gend Ret­tet was seized in the port of Lampe­dusa, a tiny fish­ing is­land off Si­cily, where many of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of mi­grants res­cued at sea in the last few years are taken. While in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect ``the crime of clan­des­tine im­mi­gra­tion’’ was com­mit­ted by some of the Ju­gend Ret­tet boat’s crew, pros­e­cu­tor Am­bro­gio Car­to­sio told re­porters that ``my per­sonal con­vic­tion was that the mo­tive is hu­man­i­tar­ian, ex­clu­sively hu­man­i­tar­ian.’’ The pre­ven­tive seizure of the Dutch-flagged Iu­venta was based on ev­i­dence that emerged from three episodes in which crew mem­bers had con­tact with hu­man smug­glers op­er­at­ing boats crowded with mi­grants, Car­to­sio said. One hap­pened in Septem­ber 2016, two in June.

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