CATANIA, Sicily – A judge in Sicily has confirmed the arrest warrants against the suspected captain and crew member of the smuggling boat that capsized in the Mediterranean migrant disaster.
Mohammad Ali Malek, 27, from Tunisia and suspected crew mate Mahmud Bikhit, 25 of Syria, appeared in a Catania court Friday and were ordered returned to jail.
Prosecutors have accused Malek of inadvertently ramming the overloaded fishing boat into the cargo ship that had come to its rescue, destabilizing it. The boat eventually flipped after migrants rushed to one side trying to get off. Only 28 survived and as many as 800 people are feared dead.
Bikhit attorney Giuseppe Ivo Russo questioned survivors' testimony that his client was a crew member, saying other people on board looked like him.