Egyptian coastguard imprisons 40 migrants

Photo credit: Shutterstock. Egyptian coastguard patrol boat.

TMP – 06/12/2017

The Egyptian coastguard at the beginning of November intercepted 40 migrants travelling from eastern Cairo to Alexandria, from where they intended to cross the Mediterranean to European shores.

According to reports from Egypt Today the migrants, who said they had paid smugglers to take them across Egypt, were immediately arrested and referred to prosecution.

In October, the Egyptian parliament approved a new irregular migration and smuggling law that includes tougher penalties for those found guilty of smuggling migrants.

The law aims to disincentivise people from smuggling migrants in Egypt and stipulates longer prison sentences for those who cause the death or disability of a migrant while transporting them, those who smuggle women or children and those who use fake documentation to create new identities for migrants.
New efforts to curb irregular migration and people smuggling come after the death of more than 200 migrants when an overcrowded boat capsized off the coast of Rashid in Beheira governorate in September last year.

Egypt is also working with Italy and the European Union to counter irregular migration. In September, the Police Research Center of the Egyptian Police Academy launched a training programme for 360 senior police members from 22 African countries on combating illegal immigration and organized crime, in accordance with a cooperation protocol between Egypt and Italy.

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the number of irregular migrants detained while attempting to leave Egypt has been increasing steadily. In 2016, the Egyptian coastguard arrested 4,600 foreign nationals, mainly Eritreans, Ethiopians, Sudanese and Somalis who were attempting to leave from the northern coast of the country.