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ROME – A judge in Sicily has convicted a ship captain and crew member in the April 2015 sinking that left 700 people dead in one of the Mediterranean's worst migrant disasters.
The Tunisian captain, Mohammad Ali Malek, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and fined 9 million euros. He was convicted of multiple manslaughter counts. His Syrian crewmate, Mahmud Bikhit, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 9 million euros after being convicted of facilitating illegal immigration.
Prosecutors accused Malek of inadvertently ramming the overloaded fishing boat into the cargo ship that had come to its rescue on April 18, 2015, destabilizing it. The boat flipped after migrants rushed to one side. Only 28 survived.
The wreck was brought to the surface and some 700 bodies recovered.