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GreekReporter.comGreek News10 Suspects Allegedly Involved In Greece Migrant Boat Disaster Arrested In Pakistan

10 Suspects Allegedly Involved In Greece Migrant Boat Disaster Arrested In Pakistan

An overcrowded fishing boat carrying migrants.
The fishing boat pictured overcrowded with migrants before it sank off the coast of Pylos, southwestern Greece. Credit: Hellenic Coast Guard

Ten suspects allegedly involved in Wednesday’s migrant boat disaster in Greece – one of the deadliest migrant disasters in the Mediterranean – have been arrested in Pakistan.

According to Pakistani news website The News, Sajid Mehmood, the prime suspect of the capsized boat tragedy, was arrested at Karachi airport while he was trying to flee to Azerbaijan. He was reportedly offloaded from the plane after his name appeared on the stop-list of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

An announcement by FIA said that the suspect was allegedly involved in smuggling people to Europe via Greece and Libya, as well as in a previous incident with a capsized migrant boat in Libya in March.

It added that the suspect will be handed over to FIA Gujarat bureau, where a case has been registered against him.

Later reports stated that nine more suspected human traffickers had been detained in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and one in Gujrat, pending investigation.

Search for boat disaster survivors in Greece

Meanwhile in Greece, search operations continued on Saturday in the sea region 47 nautical miles southwest of Pylos, southwestern Peloponnese, where the fishing boat carrying migrants sank on Wednesday, killing at least 78 people.

A Greek navy frigate, another three ships sailing by and a Hellenic Coast Guard helicopter were taking part in the search-and-rescue operations, AMNA reports, while 71 survivors were transferred from the port city of Kalamata to a migrants’ facility in Malakassa, north Attica on Saturday. At that time, some 21 people remained hospitalized at Kalamata general hospital.

Rescuers on Wednesday saved 104 passengers and recovered 78 bodies, while hundreds more are feared dead – including some 100 women and children who were locked in the hold at the time of the sinking.

The UN estimates that up to 500 passengers might be still missing.

Alleged smugglers arrested in Greece

Eight out of the nine Egyptian nationals, all survivors of the shipwreck, who were arrested on Thursday for their alleged involvement in human trafficking, were detained at the Kalamata police station on Saturday, while one was still hospitalized at Kalamata general hospital under guard.

The defendants will be led before a prosecutor on Monday morning, facing charges of forming a criminal organization related to the illegal trafficking of irregular immigrants, causing a shipwreck through negligence and endangering human life.

New videos of the passengers that emerged on Saturday showed hundreds of migrants packed together on the overcrowded deck of the boat as it sailed the Mediterranean.

The father of Shehryar Sultan, one of the missing passengers of the boat, told the BBC that smugglers “brainwashed him” into embarking on the dangerous voyage from Libya to Europe.

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