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(MeridioNews) Fourteen years of imprisonment and 50,000 euros fine for the General

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 17 June 2019

PALERMO EDITION

Case Mered, the final lines: today the indictment by the PM 
"Men treated as goods ". You asked for 14 years in prison

This is the request of the prosecutor Calogero Ferrara, after a final examination lasting about six hours and which touched on the salient points of the investigations. Those that led to the arrest of the defendant in 2016 and the trial. "We have heard unequivocal conversations"

SILVIA BUFFA 17 JUNE 2019





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Fourteen years of imprisonment and 50,000 euros fine for the General . This is the penalty requested by the prosecutor for the man considered to be the boss of trafficking Medhanie Yehdego Mered . The defendant, detained since 2016 at Pagliarelli in Palermo, has always declared that he is not the notorious trafficker sought by the authorities of half of Europe, but a carpenter named Medhanie Tesfamariam Behre, victim of a personal exchange. Just Medhanie, that name that the two have in common, is the one that recurs most in the indictment of the prosecutor Calogero Ferrara. His is one of the most complex cards, anticipates the magistrate, who comes to him after almost two hours of reconstruction of the main steps of the investigation on the theme of migrant trafficking. A profile told through three main strands, starting from the results of the 2014 investigations carried out by the prosecutor's office of Palermo and Rome, passing through the events relating to the tracing and then the arrest in Sudan, up to the identification and the disputes of the facts committed . There is also room for a parenthesis on the  defensive results that dispute its identificationand, a subject on which, at some point, the story seems to have shifted, at least at the media level. 

The interceptions reveal that it is "an Eritrean subject, particularly active in activities related to the trafficking of migrants, unequivocal conversations in which we also learn the role of the so-called safe houses and the use of service telephones". There are two users on which investigations are concentrated, a Libyan one, on which over 18,000 conversations are intercepted in 2014, and a Sudanese one. In some interceptions, reference is also made to "the use of different identity documents, he wanted to leave the criminal activity due to conflicts with other accomplices and he declared that he wanted to go elsewhere, to Sweden, to the Arab Emirates or to Dubai". There is also the Coast Guard investigationfor the shipwreck of June 28, 2014. An investigation that, however, according to the prosecutor would present some problems, so as to spoil the overall picture, because it was carried out by non-competent subjects who did not communicate moves and findings to the prosecutor of Palermo, who from he had sent investigations into the smuggling of migrants. The magistrate mainly disputes an investigative interview that took place in prison in Rome with  Seifu Haile , the General's cashier , not only without the presence of other competent bodies but without considering that the man today is not recognized as a collaborator of justice.

An interview during which the detainee would be shown a photo attributed, during the initial phase of the investigation, to the trafficker Mered, in which we see a man standing next to a car, wearing a blue shirt and a crucifix in beautiful show. "A photo that the mobile had already excluded in 2015. None of the migrants, until that year, recognizes that photo - explains the pm -. The real recognized collaborator,  Atta Weabrebri Nuredin , sees that photo and for five times says that the subject knows him, met him in Catania just before coming to a halt, so before 2014, he was at Cara di Mineo , and when he speaks with he and tells him that he wants to take care of migrant trafficking too, he replies that he calls himself Abdega Asghedom , he had just arrived and wanted to move the business to Europe, he had his contacts; but it did not go well ". Circumstances, according to the prosecution, which would reveal "not only the incompetence of some officials but also an attempt to boycott the investigations conducted simultaneously by the mobile team and the central service ". And he explains how the identification of the trafficker took place following an international collaboration, which also involved the British NCA, and which led to the connection of the users under control with a social profile attributed to the trafficker.

"We wanted to make believe that behind his arrest there was a will of the Sudanese secret services that, in the version of the accused they would have beaten him, kept him in chains and questioned without a lawyer but paradoxically they then delivered to us a report in which they report that that the prisoner has always said from the beginning, that he never had anything to do with the trafficking of migrants. But what secret services are they? », The public prosecutor asks rhetorically. Then touches also the more technical aspects that have characterized the investigation before and the process then, from the analysis of the voice and the phonic assessments carried out by the experts, to the testimony of one of the interpreters who had collaborated in the investigations, the consultant of the Public ProsecutorAbraha Yodit , "sure to have heard the same voice", that of the trafficker. She herself  testified on May 29, 2017  at trial: "In 2016, I received three more phone calls and was asked if I recognized the voice with the one I heard in 2014 and I think there was similarity, they could be the same voice", he explained to the court two years ago. But to the defense attorney Michele Calantropo's question on how the rumors were recognized and compared, the answer had been: " By ear ". "There were endless phone calls and lots of people, but after a year, hearing the same voice, I recognized the familiarity with the one I heard in 2016," the interpreter said.

And again the documents found in Sudan, after the arrest, the findings in the seized mobile phone, in which among other things, for example the five different social profiles discovered, there is also «a Sudanese telephone number found as early as 2014 for 78 contacts, with four very long conversations certainly related to the trafficking of human beings with a subject named Solomon, whom the accused denies knowing. Even after the arrest of the accused - the PM says again -  the accesses continued in his social profiles, this would prove the existence of a network of accomplices who in the meantime continued criminal activity ". Up to some witnesses quoted by the defense, who for the prosecution would not have made depositions such as to confirm the exchange of person or above all the foreignness of the accused with respect to what is attributed to him. And in fact he speaks of «Unlikely and incompatible declarations made by witnesses». He cites many, but what makes him more agitated, during his discussion, is the name of the human rights activist Meron Estefanos, whose testimony would have only shown on his part to "sell information is not clear to whom, paid it is not known from which agency, to come here to give us lessons on how to conduct the investigations , 

"Today the trafficking of human goods , the trafficking of migrants from the economic point of view is one of the most profitable criminal activities , on the one hand for the volume of this activity (the numbers are extremely high) on the other for the fact that the migrant , at any time and stage of this transport, pays first for transport by land (about two thousand dollars) to which additional sums can be added in the event of seizure (three to four thousand euros) paid for redemption, and then later for transport by sea, up to the third stage of the journey, the one in which, once landed in Italy, it must move elsewhere, perhaps to reach friends or family members previously set up. The migrant - clarifies the public prosecutor -, despite being what he asks forservice , must still be considered a victim of the crime , there is no doubt about this ». The investigations, which subsequently led to the celebration of this process, made it possible to identify three main leaders of the identified criminal organization. two who worked in Africa, Ermias and Medhanie, and one in Italy, Asghedom.

In the group «the roles were well defined, a chain of command and executors, repetition of never occasional behaviors, absence of sources of income other than the defendants who move significant sums, financial transactions reconstructed but only in part. Total disinterest of this criminal group on the fate of the goods , above all because if in the worst case they should die they have already paid in advance for that trip on board of a hull of little value, what the traffickers lose is only a future gain ", the magistrate further specifies, after about six hours of indictment. 


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