ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Three people were charged with murder in Greece after 16 migrants were killed when a boat transporting them from Turkey to Italy capsized, authorities said Monday.
The suspects were among 63 people rescued after the tragedy on Friday when the ship carrying migrants from Turkey to Italy overturned near the Greek island of Paros. They were charged with causing a marine casualty, willful death and membership in a criminal organization, the Coast Guard said.
At least 30 migrants died last week in three separate incidents at sea in Greece and more than 160 were rescued, including the capsize near Paros. Smugglers are now trying to avoid Greek islands off the Turkish coast, which are heavily patrolled by the coast guard and the EU border protection agency Frontex.
At the weekend, Minister of the Merchant Navy, Yiannis Plakiotakis, described the smugglers as “unscrupulous killers” who squeeze people into unseaworthy boats and who do not even hand out life jackets to underage passengers.
Two of the suspects arrested on Monday were 31 years old and the third was 40.
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