10 September 2007

Agrigento: free 5 fishermen, house arrests for the captains

ROME, 10th Septembre 2007 - The Prefecture of Agrigento authorized this morning the release of the seven Tunisian fishermen arrested the 8th August having saved 44 shipwrecked migrants off Lampedusa, and accused of illegal migration abetting. The two captains remain in house arrests. The decision was taken from the president of the penal section of the Agrigento Court, Luigi Patronaggio. The defendants - Mohammed Lamine Bayyoudh, Abdel Krim Bayyoudh, Kamel to you Ben-Khalifa; Hamza Braham; Abdel-Wahid Ghafouri; Lassaad Gharrad; Abdel-Basset Jenzari - are the two captains and the five members of the crew of the Morthada and el-Hedi fishing boats, still seized. The five will come back to Teboulba, in Tunisia, in order to meet their families after one month in jail, during which they were not allowed to call at home. Meanwhile the process goes on. The 20th September the audiences will resume with the examination of two of the defendants. The fishermen risk from one to fifteen years of detainment. The prosecutor, Santo Fornasier, lightened the charge from the article 12 paragraph 3 to the article 12 paragraph 1.

The story, which bounced from Al-jazeera to Le Monde, will soon be discussed at the European Parliament. 103 Euro-deputies had already signed a petition given to the Prefecture of Agrigento during the demonstration of the 7th September. And now Strasburg will discuss in plenary session the case, as decided by the conference of the group leaders, on a proposal of the Gue president, Francis Wurtz. The European Commission will be asked to report on the case during a debate on immigration the next 26th September.

Read also: Italy: fishermen arrested having saved shipwrecked migrants