Europe

Jailed Eritrean insists Italy got wrong man, no trafficker

  • A penitentiary police van is driven through a gate of the Rebibbia prison in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016. The Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said. ‘’It is clear for him he is not the man who is smuggling or trafficking humans,’’ Michele Calantropo said outside the Rome Rebibiba prison where the suspect was questioned by prosecutors from Sicily leading Italy’s anti-smuggling investigations in the presence of a judge. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)

    A penitentiary police van is driven through a gate of the Rebibbia prison in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016. The Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said. ‘’It is clear for him he is not the man who is smuggling or trafficking humans,’’ Michele Calantropo said outside the Rome Rebibiba prison where the suspect was questioned by prosecutors from Sicily leading Italy’s anti-smuggling investigations in the presence of a judge. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Italian penitentiary police van drives by the front gate of the Rebibbia prison in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016, where an Eritrean man identified by the Italian Police as Medhane Yehdego Mered, is being questioned. An Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said.  (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)

    An Italian penitentiary police van drives by the front gate of the Rebibbia prison in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016, where an Eritrean man identified by the Italian Police as Medhane Yehdego Mered, is being questioned. An Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lawyer Michele Calantropo leaves the Rebibbia penitentiary in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016. The Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said. ‘’It is clear for him he is not the man who is smuggling or trafficking humans,’’ Michele Calantropo said outside the Rome prison where the suspect was questioned by prosecutors from Sicily leading Italy’s anti-smuggling investigations in the presence of a judge. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)

    Lawyer Michele Calantropo leaves the Rebibbia penitentiary in Rome, Friday, June 10, 2016. The Eritrean man extradited to Italy under great fanfare as an alleged kingpin of a migrant smuggling ring told authorities on Friday that his arrest in Sudan was a case of mistaken identity, his lawyer, said. ‘’It is clear for him he is not the man who is smuggling or trafficking humans,’’ Michele Calantropo said outside the Rome prison where the suspect was questioned by prosecutors from Sicily leading Italy’s anti-smuggling investigations in the presence of a judge. (AP Photo/Fabio Frustaci)  (The Associated Press)

A lawyer for an Eritrean man jailed in Rome as an alleged migrant smuggling kingpin says his client keeps insisting police in Sudan nabbed him in a case of mistaken identity.

Lawyer Michele Calantropo said Saturday he expects the man to be transferred soon to Sicily, the base of prosecutors investigating Libyan-based operations smuggling migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe. Calantropo says a judge will rule on his request for his client's release after prosecutors present their opinion, a step he expects to happen Monday.

Sudan sent a suspect identified as Medhane Yehdego Mered to Italy, which sought him on a warrant. But the Eritrean community abroad quickly contended the arrested man isn't Mered.