Posts Tagged ‘Italian police’

Italy impounds German NGO migrant rescue boat

August 2, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Some 600,000 mostly African migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya since the start of 2014, putting the country’s reception facilities under strain and the centre-left government under pressure over the crisis

ROME (AFP) – Italian authorities on Wednesday impounded a German NGO’s migrant rescue boat on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration, police said.The Iuventa, operated by the Jugend Rettet organisation, was “preventatively” impounded on the Italian island of Lampedusa on the orders of a prosecutor based in Trapani, Sicily, the state police force said in a statement.

“Enquiries begun in October 2016, and conducted with the use of sophisticated techniques and investigative technology, have produced circumstantial evidence of the motorboat Iuventa being used for activities facilitating illegal immigration,” the statement said.

More details were to be provided at a 1530 GMT press conference.

The impounding of the Iuventa came as Italy began enforcing a controversial code of conduct for charity boats rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.

Jugend Rette was among six of nine NGO’s operating search-and-rescue activities in waters off Libya to reject the new rules. Italian authorities say they are necessary to ensure the boats are not effectively encouraging migrants to embark on the perilous crossing.

The NGOs have particularly objected to a requirement to allow an Italian police official to travel on each boat and a ban on moving rescued migrants from one aid vessel to another while still at sea, which they say could result in avoidable deaths.

Some 600,000 mostly African migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya since the start of 2014, putting the country’s reception facilities under strain and the centre-left government under pressure over the crisis.

Just over a third of those rescued this year have been saved by NGO boats, up from around a quarter last year.

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Italy enforces NGO boat crackdown as fewer migrants decide to cross Med

August 2, 2017

AFP

© AFP | New figures have revealed a sharp drop in the number of Migrants arriving in Italy from Libya

ROME (AFP) – Italy on Wednesday began enforcing a controversial code of conduct for charity boats rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean as new figures revealed a sharp drop in the numbers of people arriving from Libya.

A boat operated by Germany’s Jugend Rettet, one of several NGO’s which have refused to sign the code, was intercepted off Lampedusa and escorted to the outlying Italian island for “routine checks”, a coastguard spokesman told AFP.

The organisation said its boat, the Iuventa, had not been impounded and the crew had not been arrested, but could not immediately provide further details of the coastguard operation.

Only three of the nine NGO’s operating search-and-rescue activities in waters off Libya have accepted the new rules, which Italian authorities say are necessary to ensure the boats are not effectively encouraging migrants to embark on the perilous crossing.

The NGOs have particularly objected to a requirement to allow an Italian police official to travel on each boat and a ban on moving rescued migrants from one aid vessel to another while still at sea, which they say could result in avoidable deaths.

Some 600,000 mostly African migrants have arrived in Italy from Libya since the start of 2014, putting the country’s reception facilities under strain and the centre-left government under pressure over the crisis.

For most of this year the numbers of new arrivals have pointed to 2017 breaking all previous records.

But July, normally a busy month, saw the trend reversed, suggesting various efforts to close down the Libya-Italy route to Europe could be having an impact.

The Interior Ministry said 11,193 people had been registered at Italian ports in July, compared with 23,552 in July 2016.

Arrivals for the first seven months of this year were 95,214, up 0.78 percent on the same period last year.

Italy has been working with the Libyan authorities to strengthen the north African state’s coastguard with training and new equipment in the hope of making it more effective in policing traffickers and intercepting migrant boats before they reach international waters.

The Italian parliament was Wednesday discussing further support for Libya in the form of a naval mission comprised of a logistics ship and patrol boat dedicated to supporting Libyan coastguard activities.

Officials believe boats being sent back to Libyan ports will have a powerful deterrent effect on would-be migrants considering paying traffickers for passage to Europe.

But the approach has been criticised by international rights groups who say people returned to troubled Libya face detention in squalid camps and abuse at the hands of traffickers.

Italian lawmakers want police on charity boats

May 16, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Migrants disembark in the port of Messina, Sicily, following a rescue operation at sea on February 1, 2016

ROME (AFP) – 

An Italian parliamentary commission on Tuesday called for police to be deployed on or close to charity boats rescuing migrants in waters off Libya.

Nicola Latorre, chairman of the defence commission of the Senate, said the move would ensure investigations into people traffickers begin at sea, where “crucial evidence can be lost.”

He was speaking at the presentation of a report based on a series of hearings which have seen NGOs accused of encouraging the mass influx of migrants to Italy by providing a ‘taxi pick-up’ service for packed rickety boats that traffickers effectively only need to get out of Libyan territorial waters.

NGOs poured cold water on the idea of allowing police to travel with them.

“We have a humanitarian mandate and we want to maintain a clear distinction between that and any military or police intervention,” one organisation, SOS Mediterranee, said in a statement. “This is crucial for our independence.”

In its report, the commission also recommended a system of registering NGO’s active in search and rescue operations in order to ensure full transparency about their financing.

Charity boats have this year been responsible for rescuing around one third of the thousands of migrants picked up in waters off Libya. That is up from around a quarter last year.

Italy has taken in more than half a million migrants rescued in this way since the start of 2014.

The defence commission’s recommendations follow a row over claims by a prosecutor based in Sicily that some NGO boats could be being financed by the traffickers themselves to make their job of getting mostly African migrants into Europe in return for payments.

A more subtle version of the argument suggests the charity boats have helped to create a ‘pull’ factor by decreasing the risks involved in trying to make the Mediterranean crossing.

Figures suggest however that the journey remains extremely dangerous with 1,229 people recorded as having died or disappeared at sea so far this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration. That is one death for every 37 people rescued.

London-based Italians arrested for cyber-spying on top politicians

January 10, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | A brother and sister were placed under investigation after a senior government official reported having been sent an email contained spy malware known as EyePyramid

ROME (AFP) – Italian police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a London-resident nuclear engineer and his sister on suspicion of running a cyber snooping operation targeting politicians, public bodies and companies.

Police did not name the two suspects but Italian media cited charge sheets which identified them as Giulio Occhionero, 45, and his sister Francesca Maria Occhionero.

Francesca Maria Occhionero is accused of hacking into thousands of email accounts along with her brother, a nuclear engineer.
Francesca Maria Occhionero is accused of hacking into thousands of email accounts along with her brother, a nuclear engineer. CREDIT: FACEBOOK

Reports described the pair as well known figures in Roman finance circles who lived in the Italian capital but were officially resident in London.

Media reports said politicians targeted by the pair included former premiers Matteo Renzi and Mario Monti and the current head of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi.

The brother and sister were placed under investigation last year after a senior government official reported having been sent an email contained spy malware known as EyePyramid.

Prosecutors want them charged with illegally obtaining information related to state security, illegally accessing computer systems and illegal interception of online messages.

Data they collected was allegedly catalogued under two broad categories: BROS for snippets concerning individuals who were members of masonic orders, and POBU for politicians and business figures.

Police said the information trawling was carried out via a complex network of overseas-based companies but did not offer any theory of what the duo’s objective might have been.

Influx of Migrants in Europe — Spain Detains 2 Migrant Smugglers in Ceuta

January 3, 2017

ROME — The Latest on the influx of migrants in Europe (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Spanish authorities say border guards have recently detained two Moroccans for attempting to smuggle migrants concealed in a suitcase and in a car as they crossed the border into Ceuta, Spain’s enclave in North Africa.

The Guardia Civil says that custom officials found a 19-year-old migrant from Gabon hidden in a suitcase pushed by a woman who tried to enter from Morocco on Friday.

The 22-year-old Moroccan woman tried to avoid the security checks, which raised the suspicions of the agents. When officials requested she open the luggage, they found the man curled into the poorly-oxygenated hard suitcase. According to police, the man received immediate medical attention.

In a separate case on Monday, police also arrested a 30-year-old Moroccan man for hiding two migrants in a car.

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10:25 a.m.

Italian police say they have quelled a violent protest by occupants of a migrant center near Venice that left fearful workers barricaded inside offices.

Carabinieri paramilitary police in Chioggia, near the Cona migrant center, said the protest ended in the early hours of Tuesday.

Italian state RAI radio said migrants were protesting the alleged delay in medical assistance for a 25-year-old woman from Ivory Coast. The ill asylum-seeker died after an ambulance arrived.

The radio said 25 frightened workers locked themselves inside offices when migrants set fires outside the center. No one was reported injured, and the protest ended after police mediated the dispute.

Il Sole-24 Ore radio said that before the protest, the center’s management was being investigated after allegations of fraud and maltreatment.

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African migrants in 2014 — Migrants line up after disembarking from a navy ship in the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo. Reuters photo

Migrant shot dead after stabbing Italian policemen — Conditions in the Italian tent camps often worse than in refugee camps in Africa

June 8, 2016

AFP

© AFP | Thousands of migrants live in the southern Italian city of Rosarno

ROME (AFP) – A policeman in Italy has shot dead a migrant who stabbed him during a brawl in an area renowned for tensions between immigrants, locals and police, media reports said Wednesday.

The fight reportedly broke out after one migrant accused another of trying to steal from him in the vast tent camp in San Ferdinando, which sits on the outskirts of the southern city of Rosarno.

The tent camp houses thousands of people who work largely in the area’s orange groves.

As two policemen intervened, one of the migrants pulled out a knife and stabbed one of the officers, who shot him, the reports said.

There was no information given about the nationalities of the migrants involved.

Rosarno is notorious in Italy for the climate of tension between its seasonal workers — many of whom hail from sub-Saharan Africa — security forces and local residents, and has been the scene of repeated clashes.

Two days of unrest in 2010 prompted more than 1,000 Africans to flee the Calabrian town after clashes left 67 people injured, between migrants, police officers and locals.

Doctors Without Borders at the time fiercely condemned local attitudes towards the migrants, saying conditions in the Italian tent camps were often worse than in refugee camps in Africa.

World Leaders in Law Enforcement and Human Rights Join Forces: Chinese police join Italian officers to patrol tourist hotspots in Rome and Milan

May 3, 2016

Teams will offer language and legal help to mainland visitors under landmark exchange between the two countries

By Celine Ge
The South China Morning Post
Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 2:29pm

Chinese police are patrolling the streets of Italy to protect mainland tourists as part of a groundbreaking new programme – the first time China has sent officers to Europe to look after visitors there.

Four Chinese officers received special training in Beijing before their assignment, and can speak Italian as well as English. Each has been paired with a local partner, and they will be deployed at the busiest tourist attractions in Rome and Milan.

It was the first time China had sent officers to Europe to protect tourists, said Liao Jinrong, who heads up international cooperation at the Ministry of Public Security, at the launch of the programme in Rome, Xinhua reported.

The teams can offer language assistance and explain local laws and procedures to visitors who run into trouble.

The programme will last until May 13, and Italian police will later head to Beijing and Shanghai to offer a similar service.

 The Italian Carabinieri and the heroes of Tiananmen are now working together in Rome. Xinhua photo

About 3 million Chinese visit Italy every year, according to Beijing authorities, making the mainland the fourth biggest source of tourists for the southern European nation in 2014.

There have been media reports in recent years that thieves were increasingly targeting Chinese because they had a reputation of carrying more cash than other tourists.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said at the launch he expected to deepen law enforcement cooperation with China and expand the joint patrols to other Italian cities.

Similar initiatives had been rolled out by Italian police in cooperation with the United States, Poland and Spain during peak tourism seasons.

A plan to have Chinese officers deployed in Paris was scrapped in 2014, reportedly over concerns they might have difficulty operating in a legal environment that was so different from the mainland’s.

Liao, of the Chinese ministry, said the two nations had jointly carried out crackdowns on international criminal networks and the latest move reflected mutual trust cultivated through past collaborations.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1940677/chinese-police-join-italian-officers-patrol-tourist