Tunisia jails 5 people for organizing illegal migrant crossing

Tunisia jails 5 people for organizing illegal migrant crossing

Tunisian authorities sentenced 5 nationals to between 4 and 10 years in prison for organizing an illegal migrant sea crossing that led to the deaths or disappearances of 18 people, AFP reports, citing a court spokesman. The boat carrying the migrants- all Tunisians- went missing off the coast of the southeastern city of Zarzis in September 2022 while trying to reach Italy. 

President Kais Saied ordered an investigation into the incident after it sparked protests and a general strike in Zarzis.

Tunisia, together with its eastern neighbor Libya, are major embarkation points for migrants trying to reach Europe by making the perilous crossing across the Mediterranean. Each year, tens of thousands of migrants- mainly from sub-Saharan Africa attempt to the voyage from Tunisia.

More than 1,300 people died or went missing last year in shipwrecks off the North African country, according to the Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights, a non-governmental organization.

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