Middle East

Egypt sentences 56 in migrant boat disaster case

An Egyptian court has sentenced 56 defendants in the case of a boat carrying migrants that capsized off the coastal city of Rosetta in September, killing more than 200 people.

The defendants, who faced charges of involuntary manslaughter, fraud, and harboring defendants among other charges, were sentenced to up to 13 years.

The Europe-bound boat was carrying between 400-600 people including Egyptians, Africans and Syrians. Of that total, rescue workers were able to save 164 people.

The sea route from Egypt to Europe has become increasingly popular for migrants, and many of the Egyptians who were on board the boat were unescorted minors or single men in their early 20s. Egypt's economy has been battered by years of unrest since its 2011 uprising, and faces double-digit unemployment and inflation.