Another Bungle in the Italian Trial Against African Smuggler

The elite antimafia division of the Palermo prosecutor’s office has charged an adverb with the crime of human trafficking, defence lawyers and language specialists have said. Charges against “Mesi” were brought as part of a sprawling international investigation on human smuggling, but it appears Sicilian magistrates confused the word for “when” in the Tigrinya language of Eritrea with the name of a man they thought was a powerful smuggler. “Mesi is a human trafficker who has trafficked a woman named Martha from Africa to Europe,” the prosecutors wrote. A Tigrinya interpreter for the court has said, however, it is not a person’s name and believed it was a misspelling of meas, the word for “when”. Three Eritrean interpreters separately said Mesi was not used as a name in Tigrinya. Despite this, the prosecutors, who had already placed the suspected trafficker under investigation last year, have ignored the court interpreter’s official assessment and last week formally charged “Mesi” with human trafficking. The charges are part of the controversial trial in Palermo of a man named as Medhanie Yehdego Mered, who the Italian authorities regard as the “Al Capone of the desert”. The person arrested in Khartoum in June 2016 with the help of the UK National Crime Agency appears not to be Mered but an Eritrean refugee named Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, who is a victim of mistaken identity.SOURCE:  THE GUARDIAN

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