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Sicilian court convicts of migrant-trafficking 20 Somalis who had political asylum in Italy

In this photo released by Greek Defense Ministry  on April 27, 2015, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, left, awards Army Sgt. Antonis Deligiorgis, the Cross of Excellency for his role in rescuing passengers on a ship carrying migrants on the island of Rhodes, at a ceremony in Athens on April 27, 2015. Deligiogis was photographed assisting Eritrean asylum seeker Wegasi Nebiat, in an image that was on front pages of leading world newspapers the following day. Three people died in the shipwreck, while 90 others from Syria and Eritrea were rescued. (Greek Defense Ministry via AP)

In this photo released by Greek Defense Ministry on April 27, 2015, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, left, awards Army Sgt. Antonis Deligiorgis, the Cross of Excellency for his role in rescuing passengers on a ship carrying migrants on the island of Rhodes, at a ceremony in Athens on April 27, 2015. Deligiogis was photographed assisting Eritrean asylum seeker Wegasi Nebiat, in an image that was on front pages of leading world newspapers the following day. Three people died in the shipwreck, while 90 others from Syria and Eritrea were rescued. (Greek Defense Ministry via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A court in Sicily has convicted 20 Somalis who had received political asylum in Italy of a role in a vast criminal organization focused on migrant-smuggling.

Prosecutors in Catania said Monday that the defendants were part of an international migrant-smuggling ring that demanded "large sums of money" from migrants from Kenya and Somalia to enter Italy. They then helped them continue their journey to destinations in northern Europe, especially Sweden.

Their convictions bring to 42 the number of people found guilty of involvement in the same smuggling ring, which was operating throughout Italy.

Italy, which has saved some 200,000 migrants at sea since the beginning of 2014, has sought to crack down on human traffickers to help deal with the huge influx of migrants reaching its shores.