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Libya’s Coastguard Under the Spotlight

Prosecutors in Sicily have launched an investigation against the Libyan coastguard after footage emerged appearing to show officials firing on a boat of migrant families in the Mediterranean Sea. On 30 June, rescue workers from the German organisation Sea-Watch recorded the Libyan coastguard patrol vessel coming dangerously close to the small wooden boat and apparently firing shots in an attempt to force the 64 people onboard back to Libya. It is the first time a European country has launched an investigation against the Libyan coastguard, who have faced numerous accusations of alleged collusion with people smugglers and of mistreating asylum seekers. It is the first time a European country has launched an investigation against the Libyan coastguard, who have faced numerous accusations of alleged collusion with people smugglers and of mistreating asylum seekers. The investigation, which was first reported by the Italian newspaper Avvenire, was confirmed by Agrigento’s chief prosector, Luigi Patronaggio, who said that to continue the investigation he needed “authorisation from the Italian ministry of justice, given that the object of the proceeding is a foreign authority”. A picture taken on 30 June from the Sea-Watch plane. Libyan coastguards threw objects at the migrant boat and pulled a rope with a buoy behind it to ‘catch’ it as well as firing and trying to ram it, Sea-Watch said. The decision is likely to cause a stir as the vessel involved in the video – named PB 648, Ras Jadir – is one of four patrol boats Italy originally supplied to Libya.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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