ROME – Italian authorities are questioning an Eritrean man after doubts emerged about whether he is the alleged mastermind of a migrant smuggling route, or an innocent victim of mistaken identity.
Prosecutors from Sicily and the suspect's Italian lawyer were at a Rome prison Friday to question the suspect, who had been identified as Medhane Yehdego Mered. Italian prosecutors hailed the arrest and extradition as a major breakthrough.
Within hours of the announcement, however, the Eritrean diaspora in Europe starting buzzing with reports that the man escorted off the plane was not Mered, but an Eritrean refugee with similar first names who had been living in Sudan.
Palermo chief prosecutor Francesco La Voi told The Associated Press that the necessary checks are being made.