Tunisia sentences five over missing migrants

June 15, 2024
In this photo taken on April 27, 2023, Tunisian coast guard personnel try to stop migrants off the coast off Sfax during an attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. — Reuters

TUNIS: A Tunisian court has sentenced five people to prison for organising an illegal migrant sea crossing that resulted in 18 deaths or disappearances, a spokesman said on Friday.


The boat carrying the migrants, all Tunisians, went missing off the coast of the southeastern city of Zarzis during an attempt to reach Italy in September 2022.

The five Tunisian defendants, including two still at large, received prison terms ranging from four to 10 years on Thursday night, said Lassad Horr, spokesman for the Medenine court.

The incident sparked protests and a general strike in Zarzis. President Kais Saied later ordered an investigation to uncover what happened.

The court spokesman said on Friday that a boat, two cars and a GPS device had been seized as part of the investigation.