An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced 10 people to up to 25 years in prison for assisting illegal immigration through the country’s northern sea shores, the official MENA news agency reported.
An Alexandria Criminal Court sentenced five of them to 25 years in prison, a female boat owner to three years and four sailors to six years.
The court also seized the boat and ordered them to repay about 92,400 dollars. The sentences could, however, be appealed.
Egypt is a favourable destination for illegal immigrants trying to cross its territories to neighbouring Libya on their way to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea, in hopes of fleeing difficult economic conditions back home.
In September 2016, a migrant boat carrying some 600 people to Italy capsized near the coast of Egypt’s northern Beheira Province, leaving more than 200 dead.
In November 2017, Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said the country managed to completely eliminate illegal immigration via its sea coasts. He noted that more than 4,500 people drowned in the Mediterranean while illegally travelling to Europe in 2016.
Citing statistics from the European Border and Coast Guard, Agenc, Shoukry, said there has been no illegal immigration from Egyptian coasts since early September 2016.