Italian magistrates in Malta over migrants’ death

EU agency against organised crime in Malta, meets with Magistrate Aaron Bugeja over migrants’ death

Two magistrates from the Messina regional court are in Malta after 30 migrants, including a baby, lost their lives at sea last month.

The magistrates are here through the intervention of Eurojust, an agency of the European Union, which deals with judicial co-operation in criminal matters. Established in 2002, Eurojust was created to reinforce the fight against serious organised crime. The unit is composed of national prosecutors, magistrates, or police officers of equivalent competence, detached from each Member State according to their own legal systems.

MaltaToday is informed that the team has already met with Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who led the inquiry into the migrants’ death. The team has requested to inspect the fishing boat which was carrying the migrants.

The cause of death of the 29 migrants has been listed as drowning following a stampede, allegedly caused during the transfer of migrants from the ship to a merchant vessel.

The fishing boat was subsequently towed to Malta, where the bodies were recovered.

In connection with the same incident, Italian media reported that five migrants who were on the fishing boat were arrested by the Italian authorities on suspicion of stabbing over 100 migrants packed into the small fishing vessel and then throwing them overboard.