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Over 300 drifting migrants rescued by Italian forces

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LIBYAPROSPECT – London

In another migrant crisis tragedy, approximately 100 migrants went missing at sea just off the coast of Libya last Wednesday; only 12 corpses have been recovered, and survivors who were rescued by the Italian forces arrived in Lampedusa Wednesday night.

Rai News website published a report on the migrant crisis, which LIBYAPROSPECT translates for its readers:

Rai News reports ships belonging to the NGO ‘Migrants Offshore Aid Station’ (MOAS) rescued 316 migrants off the Strait of Sicily. The emergency services took the refugees from their rafts. Some of the migrants told the emergency crew that they left the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha on Wednesday evening at around 22:00 and that they spent 7 hours drifting at sea. Rai News claims that a further 27 migrants arrived at the coast of Sardinia in Italy on Thursday morning. The Italian police blocked 26 Algerian nationals who arrived on the beach of Porto Pino in the city of Sant’Anna Arresi and Sant’Antioco, in Maladroxia on the southwest coast of Sardinia.

The report added that 17 migrants arrived last Wednesday night in Porto Pino, they slept at dawn on the beach of Teulada, inside a military range and made their way towards the village, where police stopped them. The second wave of migrants was on Thursday morning at approximately 7 am, in Maladroxia. A resident called 112 telling emergency services that there were nine migrants near a bar, all were of Algerian origin, once identified they will be transferred to shelters.

The Rai News report, then, began writing on a report by Amnesty International who accuses the Italian police of torturing refugees in Italian hotspot. Amnesty International accuses the Italian police forces of resorting to practices “akin to torture” to get the fingerprints from the migrants. Amnesty partly blames the European Union for this situation. In a report dedicated to the ‘hotspot’ policy, Amnesty International said that “the EU’s pressure on Italy to be firm on the migrants and refugees, have led to illegal expulsions and ill-treatment, in some cases, are comparable to torture.” In the Italian registration centers, migrants are identified upon their arrival to European soil. Many migrants often refuse to be defined, this reaction from the migrants prompts the Italian forces to act “beyond the law” and conduct “shocking abuse” by some police officers, said explains Matteo de Bellis, the coordinator of the report.

According to Rai News, the Amnesty International report added, “in their attempt to reduce the persistent movement of refugees and migrants to other member states. The European leaders have pushed the Italian authorities to the limit and beyond of what is ‘legal’”. De Bellis said that “the result is that traumatized people, who arrived in Italy after dramatic travel have been subjected in some cases of shocking abuse at the hand of the Italian police, also with some unlawful evictions.”

The Amnesty International report went on to add that, 24 testimonies of mistreatment were collected from a total of 170 interviews of refugees. Of the 170 interviews, 16 relate to incidents in which someone has been beaten. The NGO report recognizes that most of the time, the procedure for the identification of these migrants takes place without incidents: “the behavior of most of the police remains professional, and most of the fingerprint records held without incident.” Some episodes are of “grave concern.” De Bellis adds that the testimony record of coincident with each other and that although Amnesty International has not been able to test them one by one, the NGO “certainly can say that there is a problem of excessive use of force by the police.”