British police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of having played a “significant role” in the deaths of at least 27 people who drowned while trying to cross the English Channel in a dinghy last November.
Published: 29 November 2022 18:24 CET
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said 32-year-old Harlem Ahmed Abbaker was arrested at an address near Cheltenham in southwest England.
He is suspected of being “a member of an organized crime group who conspired to transport migrants to the UK in small boats”.
NCA investigators are working with French authorities to track down those responsible for the tragedy.
French prosecutors have so far indicted 10 people for their involvement in the November 24 disaster last year.
It was the worst accident in the Channel since the Narrow Channel became an important route for people in Africa, the Middle East and Asia trying to reach Britain from France.
The ship sank after leaving the French coast, killing all but two men. Four people remain missing.
The suspect will appear in London’s Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where extradition proceedings to France will begin.
The charges faced there include manslaughter and the French equivalent of promoting illegal immigration.
“This is a significant arrest and comes as part of a broader investigation into the events leading to these tragic deaths on the channel,” said NCA Deputy Director Craig Turner.
“Those detained today are suspected of playing a key role in the manslaughter of the deceased.
“We are determined to work closely with our partners in France to do everything possible to obtain justice for the families of those who lost their lives,” he added.
Among the 27 people aged 7 to 47 were 16 Iraqi Kurds, 4 Afghans, 3 Ethiopians, 1 Somali, 1 Egyptian and 1 Vietnamese. included people.
Tributes and demonstrations were held on Thursday for the 27 victims of the tragedy recognized by France’s interior minister.
Several boats carrying rescuers and local elected persons set sail off Dunkirk to celebrate the anniversary.
“This is the tragedy we expected, and there are probably others,” said Alan Redagener, head of the local chapter of the SNSM Lifeboat Service.
https://www.thelocal.com/20221129/uk-police-arrest-man-over-2021-deaths-of-27-people-in-channel-tragedy/ British police arrest man who killed 27 in 2021 in channel tragedy