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Shipwreck of migrants in the English Channel: two other soldiers indicted

2023-06-01T21:51:53.074Z

Highlights: 27 migrants drowned in November 2021 after their boat sank. The French emergency services are suspected of having done nothing. Seven soldiers are, at this stage, charged in the judicial investigation of the National Jurisdiction for the Fight against Organized Crime (Junalco) Ten suspected smugglers, mostly Afghans, have also already been indicted. An investigation is also underway across the Channel, with some 8,000 asylum seekers rescued in French waters in 2021, according to a report by Le Monde.


27 migrants drowned in November 2021 after their boat sank. The French emergency services are suspected of having done nothing


Two new soldiers were indicted on Thursday as part of the investigation into the sinking of a migrant boat in the English Channel at the end of 2021, we learned from sources close to the investigation and judicial. Their presentation to an investigating judge was unveiled during the day by the investigation cell of Radio France and franceinfo.

The boat sank in the early morning of November 24, 2021, carrying 27 passengers, mostly Iraqi Kurds, aged between 7 and 46. No one came to their aid. Neither on the French nor on the British side, each spending the night passing the buck, according to documents of the investigation revealed by Le Monde in November. The French authorities are suspected of having been called for help on about fifteen occasions and of not having come to their aid.

According to the source close to the investigation, the two soldiers charged Thursday were aboard the French Navy patrol boat the "Flamant". This boat was sailing in "relative proximity" to the boat where the migrants were, said the judicial source. They were released after their interrogation. The Code of Military Justice severely restricts the possibilities for military personnel to be placed under judicial supervision. With these new indictments, seven soldiers are, at this stage, charged in the judicial investigation of the National Jurisdiction for the Fight against Organized Crime (Junalco) of the Paris Judicial Court. Ten suspected smugglers, mostly Afghans, have also already been indicted. An investigation is also underway across the Channel.

"You are in English waters"

In a telephone conversation with the Cross, a migrant said: "Help please (...), I am in the water". "Yes, but you are in English waters, sir," replied his interlocutor. "No, not English waters, French waters, please can you come quickly," he begged again, before the conversation was cut off. During previous hearings as witnesses in this investigation at the end of 2021, Cross agents had invoked the lack of resources, which forces "to prioritize". That evening, the Cross handled "hundreds or even thousands of calls," one of them reported.

Some 46,000 asylum seekers crossed the Channel in 2022, mostly Afghans, Iranians and Albanians. Some 8,000 were rescued in French waters.

Source: leparis

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