Italy sentences smuggler to life in prison

Photo credit: Reuters. A convoy of vehicles transports migrants through the Sahara desert between Sudan and Libya.

TMP – 26/10/2017

A Somali smuggler has received life imprisonment in Italy for the rape, torture and murder of scores of migrants. The abuse took place in a detention camp in Bani Walid in the Libyan desert, 100 miles south-east of Tripoli.

The 22-year-old smuggler from Mogadishu, Osman Matammud, crossed the Mediterranean to Italy and tried to pass himself off as an asylum seeker. He  was arrested a year ago in Milan after fellow Somali migrants recognised him. According to news sources, the smuggler was almost lynched by migrants when Italian police intervened and arrested him.

According to The Telegraph newspaper, a teenage girl told the prosecutors that Matammud raped her many times. “The first night, he came into the hangar, he grabbed me and he ripped off my clothes in front of everyone,” she said.

Many more people testified how the convicted smuggler raped and tortured them at the Libyan detention camp. One reason given for Matammud’s sadistic abuse was to pressure the families of the migrants to pay more money for their passage across the Mediterranean.

Judges at the Milan court heard how migrants were beaten with stones, tortured with electric shocks and how the smuggler melted plastic bags to the skin of his victims.

The court in Milan found Matammud guilty of murdering, abducting and sexually abusing migrants, including young girls. He will spend the first three years of his sentence in solitary confinement.