Council of Europe presses Italy on Libyan migrant returns

The Council of Europe is asking Italy to explain what its naval ships are doing off Libya's coast amid concerns that Europe-bound migrants who are sent back to Libya face "a real risk" of torture or inhuman treatment.

The council's human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, warned Interior Minister Marco Minniti that Italy again risked violating the European Convention on Human Rights. In the Sept. 28 letter published Wednesday, Muiznieks recalled that the European Court of Human Rights in 2012 found that Italy had violated the treaty by returning migrants who were intercepted in international waters to Libya.

Italy announced in July it was sending naval units to help Libya's coast guard prevent migrants from leaving.