The investigation into the sinking of migrants from the Channel, which resulted in 27 deaths at the end November, was a decisive one. Ten men were arrested in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday. They are suspected to be part of a network that smugglers.
Between seven and 46 years old, the migrants - 16 Kurds of Iraq, one Kurds From Iran, four Afghans and three Somalians - were killed when their rubber boat, which was carrying them, sank off the coast. They were trying to reach Great Britain from Calais. They set out on their crossing at night from Loon-Plage (near Grande-Synthe) Two passengers, one an Iraqi Kurd, and one a Sudanese were rescued.
In mid-December, an investigation was opened and entrusted by Parisian investigating magistrates. Between Sunday and Monday, 15 people were detained - 13 men as well as two women. A source familiar with the matter said that these individuals were mostly Afghan nationals. Three men and two women were released at this point without being charged. Ten men were then presented to the investigating magistrates, and they were indicted. The first man was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Nine other people, aged 21-41, were also indicted Thursday. They are accused of "manslaughter", involuntary injuries and endangering lives of others. The source said that five of the indicted were remanded in custody while four others are under judicial supervision.
According to another source, they are suspected of being involved in various roles, including as drivers, smugglers, or lodgers in connection to the sinking.
Utopia 56, an association that assists exiles, filed a December complaint for manslaughter and failure to provide assistance in order to be a civil party to this case. In November, she will find out if her civil action was finally approved on appeal.
Utopia 56 targeted Philippe Dutrieux (maritime prefect), the director at the Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue Gris-Nez Marc Bonnafous and Claire Hughes, the director for the English coast guard. While AFP is expressing joy at the "significant progress" in the investigation into the network of smugglers', Me Emmanuel Daoud (the association's lawyer) says that the "dysfunction part of the investigation does not seem as fast when questions about negligence, lack of preparation, or not arise."
The complaint of the association was based on the testimony and statements of an Iraqi Kurdish survivor. According to him, 33 people were aboard the boat. Rudaw, an Iraqi Kurdish channel, had received a report from him that migrants had called British and French rescue services after their boat began to sink. He claimed that the help was not activated and that the French and English had returned the responsibility. The maritime prefecture of Channel and North Sea decided that no call from migrants could have been made at the beginning of December.
The worst shipwreck since migrants attempted to cross the Channel had caused an uproar in Europe and reignited tensions between France, Britain, and Germany.
The Ministry of the Interior reports that attempts by illegal migrants to cross the Channel to reach the British coast were a major concern in the first half of 2022. This follows a record-breaking year in 2021. According to the ministry, the number of attempted crossings by inflatable boats from the northern coast between Calais (Dunkirk) had reached a "record" in 2021. 52,000 people attempted it, and 28,000 succeeded. In January, the ministry communicated this information.
According to the maritime prefecture 38 migrants died trying to reach England via sea from France's northern coast in 2021.