Eritrean man released from jail in Italian mistaken identity case

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A Palermo judge has acquitted an Eritrean man of being a human trafficking kingpin, confirming he was the victim of mistaken identity when he was arrested more than three years ago in a joint operation between Italian and British authorities. The arrest of Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe in 2016 was presented to the press as a brilliant coup by Italian and British authorities, who mistook him for one of the world’s most-wanted human traffickers, Medhanie Yehdego Mered, aka the General.

But Judge Alfredo Montalto of the criminal court of Palermo on 12 July rejected prosecutors’ claims and ordered the immediate release of Berhe, who was arrested in Khartoum, Sudan, on 24 May 2016 with help of the British National Crime Agency and the Sudanese police. “It was a case of mistaken identity,” the judge said. “The man in prison was wrongly arrested.” Berhe was found guilty instead of a much lesser charge of aiding illegal immigration for having helped his cousin to reach Libya, but because he had already served three years in prison, the judge ordered his immediate release.(theguardian)…[+]