Greek court drops migrant shipwreck case against nine Egyptians

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A Greek court has dismissed charges against nine Egyptian men suspected of creating one of the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwrecks.

The deadly boat tragedy saw over 600 people die when the Adriana, carrying an estimated 750 migrants from Libya to Italy, capsized in the international waters off the Greek town of Pylos on June 14, 2023.

According to The Guardian, the Greek judge stated that their courts lacked jurisdiction over the case because the accident occurred in international seas. Supporters rallied outside in support of the defendants. 

One of nine Egyptians who was on trial waves to the media as he leaves court in Kalamata on 21 May. PhotoThanassis StavrakisAP. Photo The Guardian.
One of nine Egyptians who was on trial waves to the media as he leaves court in Kalamata on 21 May. Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/The Guardian.
An image provided by the Greek coastguard on 14 June 2023 shows the overcrowded Adriana before it sank. Photo AP.
An image provided by the Greek coastguard on 14 June 2023 shows the overcrowded Adriana before it sank. Photo: AP News.

“After almost a year of wrongful detention these nine men can now enjoy their freedom,” said one of the men’s lawyers, Alexandros Georgoulis.

 “This is a very important ruling that will set a precedent when it comes to judging cases that take place in international waters. It is an outcome that has made us all very happy.”

“The court not only agreed it was incompetent to try the case but found the defendants innocent of illegal smuggling and illegal entry [into Greece],” said Georgoulis, speaking outside the courtroom.

“That really wasn’t expected.”

Defence lawyer, Vicky Aggelidou, who represented two of the accused men, claimed the Egyptians, who have since applied for asylum, would almost certainly seek compensation for their time in prison.

“It was a heroic decision [to free the men] that was absolutely right, absolutely fair and should have been taken long ago”, Aggelidou said.

Source: The Guardian

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