Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

A Greek court on Tuesday dropped charges against nine Egyptians in connection with the sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Greece in June 2023.

The court said it dropped the charges against the nine Egyptians for lack of jurisdiction.

Greece began the trial of Egyptians on charges of causing the sinking of a ship that killed hundreds of migrants, which sent shockwaves through border protection and asylum operations for the European Union.

According to the Associated Press, the defendants, most of whom are in their twenties, face life in prison if convicted of criminal charges related to the sinking of the fishing vessel Adriana on June 14.

International rights groups have expressed concern about the defendants’ right to a fair trial, noting that the investigation into the incident is not yet concluded, amid allegations that the Greek coastguard may have spoiled the rescue attempt.

The ship was en route from Libya to Italy when it sank on June 14, and more than 500 people are believed to have died in the crash.

Following the incident, 104 people were rescued, mostly migrants from Syria, Pakistan and Egypt, and 82 bodies were recovered by the authorities.

In front of the court, riot police clashed with a small group of protesters and arrested two people.

Lawyers from Greek rights groups represent the nine Egyptians, who deny involvement in the human smuggling charges.

Greek authorities said the charges were based on the testimonies of survivors who identified the defendants.

 

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