Rome: An Italian court has sentenced seven African migrants to a total of more than 120 years in prison for the drowning of at least 12 people in Mediterranean in 2015.
The court in Palermo on Monday jailed the seven migrants for 18 years each and acquitted eight others over the deaths of 12 Nigerians and Ghanaians who were allegedly thrown into the sea in April 2015.
The court rejected prosecution claims that the killings were religiously motivated, citing insufficient eyewitness testimony.
Prosecutors had asked for life terms for the defendants, many of them Muslims from Cote d’Ivoire, who they accused of causing the deaths by drowning of 12 Christians from Nigeria and Ghana.
Other defendants at the trial were from Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
The rubber dinghy set sail from the Libyan coast on April 14, 2015 with 105 migrants on board, most of them from Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.
The prosecution case was based on claims by six survivors who alleged that the migrants thrown overboard had refused to pray to Allah during the crossing, local daily Il Giornale della Sicilia reported on its website.
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