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Six Africans jailed for human trafficking in landmark trial

SECURITY
Six Africans jailed for human trafficking in landmark trial

An Italian court on Monday jailed six Eritreans for human trafficking in landmark ruling that recognised the existence of a criminal organisation that trafficked human beings.

The court in Palermo handed the Africans sentences ranging from two years and four months to six years and four months in prison over a shipwreck off Lampedusa in 2013 which over 366 migrants drowned.

The Eritreans were tried in a fast-track trial, which in Italy means the sentences can't be appealed but are automatically reduced by a third if the defendants are found guilty.

The defendants were arrested in 2014 and belonged to a human trafficking gang which smuggled migrants to Europe from Libya via Italy.

One of the defendants became the first people smuggling suspect to turned state's witness. He received a five-year jail term.

Italian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for the gang's alleged leader, fugitive people trafficking multi-millionaire Ermis Ghermay who is believed to be in Libya.

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