An Eritrean man suspected of running a huge human trafficking network that sent thousands of migrants to Europe from Sudan, has been extradited to Italy. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Italian prosecutors said on Wednesday (June 8) they believed they held in custody the head of a huge human trafficking network. "The first reason to be satisfied is that we have under Italian custody, the leader of the most organised criminal network in the trafficking of migrants, working in the area of the sub-Sahara to Libya and Italy and other European countries, in particular northern Europe," said Palermo Prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi at a news conference in Sicily. Medhane Yehdego Mered, nicknamed "the General", had been heard on intercepted telephone calls boasting about cramming more people onto rickety boats than other traffickers, prosecutors said. "This shows the absolute indifference that this organisation and their bosses had for human life and for the lives of all those desperate people who, for various reasons, attempt to arrive in Europe in the hope of a better life," Lo Voi said. "This absolute indifference is demonstrated by the words this man himself said in the telephone conversations we recorded and shows the sense of power he had, but on this occasion the end result wasn't the one he would have hoped for," he added. The 35-year-old was arrested in Sudan on May 24, Italian and British officials said, on charges of human trafficking and abetting illegal immigration and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Magistrates may eventually also accuse him of homicide as their investigation continues, judicial sources said. There was no immediate comment from any lawyer representing him. It is the first time a suspected trafficking kingpin has been tracked down in Africa, where many of the smuggling networks are based, and brought to face justice in Italy since Europe's immigration crisis started almost three years ago.