Eighteen Sicilian fishermen have been in Libyan custody since September 2020. Their offence: Fishing for coveted red prawns off the coast of Libya. Their desperate families fear that more is at stake than sovereign rights at sea.
The Italian authorities remain silent, despite the fact that experts see Libya’s actions as a clear violation of international law: The country also claims the seas outside the internationally defined twelve-mile zone, where the fishermen were sailing, as its territorial waters. But the Italian navy is increasingly withdrawing from the international waters off Libya’s coast at the same time. Relatives of the captive fishermen say it’s because so many refugees get into trouble on the open sea and the navy no longer wants to have to rescue them. The fishermen’s families are holding vigils in front of the parliament in Rome to try to pressure Italy’s politicians into getting the 18 men released at last. A report by Philipp Zahn.
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