UK Police Charge Egyptian Over Mediterranean Migrant Crossings

ِAFP, Sunday 25 Jun 2023

British police said Saturday they had charged an Egyptian man accused of masterminding the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe, following an international investigation.

Egyptian suspect
The Egyptian suspect arrested on Thursday in London on suspicion of masterminding the smuggling of thousands of people across the Mediterranean from North Africa into Italy. Photo : UK s National Crime Agency


Officers from the U.K.'s National Crime Agency arrested Ahmed Ramadan Mohamad Eibd, 40, near his west London home on Wednesday, after a probe which also involved Italy's prosecutors, coast guard and financial crimes investigators.

Eibd appeared in a west London magistrates' court early Saturday, where he was charged with facilitating illegal immigration.

The court ordered him to remain in custody until his next appearance at Southwark Crown Court in south London on July 24.

He is suspected of masterminding, from his home in the U.K., the smuggling of thousands of people across the Mediterranean from Libya into Italy.

The NCA alleges he worked with people-smuggling networks in north Africa to organize boats to bring over hundreds of migrants at a time and was maintaining communication with criminal associates during the crossings.

Several of the journeys led to search and rescue operations by Italian authorities, the U.K. police agency noted, calling the boats used "death traps."

"People smuggling is an international problem and tackling this at every step of the route is a priority for the NCA," Darren Barr, senior investigating officer at the NCA, said.

"The type of boats organized crime groups use for crossings are death traps and sadly many people have died after incidents in the Mediterranean, which demonstrates the level of danger," he added.

"We will continue to share intelligence and take action with partners to prevent crossings and arrest people smugglers here and overseas."

The arrest and referral comes after nine Egyptians were arrested in Greece last week in connection with a Mediterranean migrant boat disaster that killed at least 82 people with many others presumed dead at sea.


Short link: