STOCKHOLM – The Latest on questions about the arrest of a man accused of being a kingpin in a Mediterranean migrant smuggling network (all times local):
A lawyer for the Eritrean man extradited to Italy on accusations he was a kingpin in a Mediterranean migrant smuggling network says his client faces his first interrogation Friday amid claims by his family and others that police got the wrong man.
Attorney Michele Calantropo tells The Associated Press that the family of his client is trying to find documentation to prove that he is Medhanie Tesfamariam Kidane.
Italian authorities on Wednesday announced that they had in custody a key suspect in a long-running human trafficking investigation, who had been extradited to Italy from Sudan. They identified him as Medhane Yehdego Mered and showed video of him disembarking from a plane.
But Meron Estefanos, a Sweden-based Eritrean broadcaster who said she has interviewed Mered in the past, says the man in the video isn't Mered.
Chief Prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi in Palermo, Italy, says his office is checking into reports that authorities may have arrested the wrong man in a major people-smuggling operation.
An Eritrean broadcaster based in Sweden says scores of people, including relatives of the man extradited to Italy, told her the man arrested is Medhanie Tesfamariam Kidane, an Eritrean refugee, not Medhane Yehdego Mered, a prime suspect in the transport of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe.
Lo Voi says his office is checking but that the news reports that they had the wrong guy were "unusual."
"We are undertaking the necessary checks, but this seems unusual," he tells The Associated Press.
An Eritrean broadcaster based in Sweden is raising questions about whether Italian authorities have arrested the wrong man in a major people-smuggling investigation.
Meron Estefanos, who is well known in the worldwide Eritrean refugee community, tells The Associated Press that scores of people, including relatives of the man extradited to Italy, told her he is Medhanie Tesfamariam Kidane, an Eritrean refugee, not Medhane Yehdego Mered, a prime suspect in the transport of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe.
Contacted about the reports on Wednesday night, Palermo, Italy, chief prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi said he hadn't heard them and had no reason to believe Italy had the wrong man.
Britain's National Crime Agency, which was involved in the investigation, said it was aware of a Guardian report that the wrong man was arrested but that it was too soon to speculate about the claims.