May 21, 2024

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Spain: 2 smugglers convicted for the death of 4 Moroccan migrants

2 min read

Two smugglers have been sentenced to nine years in prison each for the deaths of four Moroccan migrants who drowned after being forced to jump from a boat last year near the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, officials said.

The Ceuta prosecutor’s office said the sentences were decided without a trial after an agreement was reached with the two men.

The office said the two men – one from Ceuta and the other residing in Morocco – took nine young men onto a pleasure boat in Morocco in January 2023 to bring them into the territory illegally. Spanish.

When winds intensified approaching the port city of Ceuta, smugglers forced migrants to jump into the water and swim to shore. Five of them made it, but the others drowned. Their bodies were found a few days later.

The two smugglers were charged with four counts of negligent homicide and violating the rights of foreign nationals . Before Wednesday’s deal, the prosecution had requested prison terms of 32 years. The two men were ordered to pay 205,000 euros ($218,000) in compensation to each of the victims’ families, the public prosecutor said.

The suspects were arrested in March 2023 following an investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard based on videos recorded by the migrants minutes before they jumped into the rough waters.

In another recent case, Spanish police arrested three people over the deaths last November of five migrants who were threatened with a machete and forced to jump from the boat they were traveling on with dozens of other migrants offshore from the southern coast of mainland Spain.

Most migrants who try to enter Ceuta or Melilla – the other Spanish enclave in North Africa – from Morocco do so by trying to cross the huge border fences.

Tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan countries fleeing poverty, conflict and instability in West Africa try to reach Spain by boat each year. Most board large open boats bound for the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, while others from Morocco, Algeria and Middle Eastern countries attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the ocean. Atlantic to reach mainland Spain. Several thousand people died during this perilous journey.

The Interior Ministry says 16,621 migrants arrived in Spain by boat between January 1 and April 15, 11,681 more than the same period last year. The vast majority of them arrived by road from the Canary Islands.

By Rédaction Africanews 

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