Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



'Adriana' shipwreck: Greek judge dismisses charges against nine Egyptians

Four of nine Egyptians, who were on trial for migrant smuggling, react as they leave from the court in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Thanassis Stavrakis/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


**Tension was palpable Tuesday (May. 21) in Kalamata, southern Greece, ahead of a ruling by a greek court.

The riot police clashed with protesters. There were no reports of serious injuries in the scuffles outside the courthouse in Kalamata but at least two people were detained.

A Greek judge eventually dismissed charges against nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck that killed at least 500 migrants last year.

The protesters and human rights groups argued that the men's right to a fair trial was being compromised as they faced judgment before an investigation is concluded into claims the Greek coast guard may have botched a rescue attempt.

The "Adriana", an overcrowded fishing trawler, had been traveling from Libya to Italy on June 14 last year. It sailed in international water at the time of the tragedy. The area was within Greece's search and rescue zone of responsibility.

In the aftermath of the sinking, some survivors said the coast guard had been attempting to tow the boat when it sank, and rights activists have accused Greek authorities of triggering the shipwreck.

A prosecutor told the court that Greece lacked jurisdiction.

The defense lawyers had argued the same, adding their clients were innocent survivors who were unjustly prosecuted.

The defendants had faced up to life in prison if convicted on multiple charges over the sinking of the "Adriana". The latest tragedy that sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations.

More than 500 people are believed to have gone down with the vessel, which had been traveling from Libya to Italy.

104 people were rescued - mostly migrants from Syria, Pakistan and Egypt - and 82 bodies were recovered.

View more