Prosecutor says traffickers brought migrants aboard Iuventa

But says no link between NGO and Libyans

02 August, 19:12

    PALERMO - Trapani prosecutor Ambrogio Cartosio said in a press conference that personnel working aboard the NGO vessel Iuventa twice brought migrants aboard the ship who were escorted by Libyan traffickers and not in dangerous situations.

    Cartosio requested and received permission to seize the vessel, which has been blocked in Lampedusa since Monday evening.

    "The preventative seizure was arranged in order to stop the crime from reoccurring," Cartosio said.

    Cartosio said the fact that the NGO operating the Iuventa didn't sign the Italian government's proposed code "has nothing to do with today's operation", and said that is no relationship between the NGO and the traffickers.

    "We've documented meetings at sea, but we've concluded there were no connections between the NGO and Libyans," he said, adding that this also means categorically excluding that anyone "took action for profit".

    The Iuventa is regularly used to rescue migrants off the Libyan coasts and to bring migrants to other vessels in international waters, and it regularly sails in the Libyan Sea near the country's territorial waters, the Trapani police said.

    The Trapani police's investigation into NGOs that rescue migrants off the Libyan coasts was announced last April.

    On May 11, Cartosio spoke of the Trapani investigation in a hearing before the Italian Senate Defence Committee.

    "The Trapani prosecutor's office is conducting investigations into the possible aiding and abetting of illegal immigration involving NGOs not as organizations but the physical persons belonging to the NGOs," Cartosio told the committee.(ANSAmed).

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