Nine Egyptians to face trial over deadly migrant shipwreck

Nine Egyptians to face trial over deadly migrant shipwreck


Nine Egyptian men who were on board a migrant boat that sank off Greece last year, killing hundreds of people, are to face trial next month.

The circumstances of the sinking of the Adriana in June remain a source of dispute between the Greek authorities and groups supporting the rights of survivors and migrants.

Survivors have accused the Greek coastguard of capsizing the boat. However, the authorities, which monitored Adriana for hours, said it overturned when a coastguard vessel was about 70 meters away. It remains unclear what happened in the time between the coastguard being alerted to the presence of the vessel and when it capsized.

In a report in December, EU border agency Frontex – which had spotted the boat from the air before the coastguard – said that Greek authorities failed to reply to its follow-up calls and its offers for assistance.

The overcrowded fishing trawler was carrying hundreds of migrants from Pakistan, Syria and Egypt when it sank in international waters off the southern town of Pylos, on its way from Libya to Italy. Some 104 men survived and only 82 bodies have been recovered.

It was the worst disaster in years and again highlighted the dangers for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The nine Egyptian men, in pre-trial detention since June, have been charged with causing the incident, participating in a criminal organisation, migrant smuggling and other charges.

The trial is set to begin on May 21 in Kalamata, Greece.

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