Following his capture at Ethiopia’s airport while attempting to board a flight for Australia, an Eritrean fugitive is being extradited to Italy to face charges of human trafficking, according to Italian police on Wednesday.
According to a statement from the police, Ghebremehdhin Temesghen Ghebru, 35, is accused of aiding in the management of a human smuggling operation that transported individuals from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan to Libya before they boarded boats carrying migrants to Italy and ultimately northern Europe.
Ghebru, who had been sought after for more than a year by Palermo, Sicily, prosecutors, was apprehended at the Addis Abeba, Ethiopia airport while travelling on an Australian passport, according to the police, thanks to collaboration with Interpol, Europol, Dutch, and British law enforcement officials.
Human traffickers with bases in Libya prefer to send their victims to Italy, where they demand hundreds or thousands of dollars each for the perilous Mediterranean crossing.
Just last week, Ethiopian authorities handed over another Eritrean man to Dutch judicial authorities who they suspect of being the head of a network that smuggled migrants from Eritrea into the Netherlands. The man, whose identity was withheld, is thought to have been smuggling people between 2014 and 2020.