World’s ‘most wanted’ human trafficker arrested – Interpol

0 24

Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam was previously sentenced in absentia to life in prison for extorting money from African migrants

A notorious human trafficker convicted of smuggling thousands of people during Europe’s migration crisis has been arrested in an international operation led by the United Arab Emirates in collaboration with Interpol.

Kidane Zekarias Habtemariam, an Eritrean who had been on Interpol’s radar since 2019, was arrested in Sudan on January 1. According to the UAE Ministry of Interior, he led an organization that “East African migrants kidnapped, abused and extorted to smuggle them to Europe”.

Habtemariam was first arrested in Ethiopia in 2020, but escaped from a court in Addis Ababa the following year. An Ethiopian court sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for human trafficking in 2021. Habtemariam was accused of holding refugees and migrants in warehouses in Libya and extorting thousands of dollars from them and their families, Reuters reported at the time, citing legal documents. .

He was also wanted in the Netherlands, with the Dutch government describing him as “one of the most notorious and vicious smugglers in the world.” According to Dutch authorities, Habtemariam ran a migrant camp in Libya, where residents were forcibly detained, beaten and raped.

Officials said Habtemariam took advantage of the plight of people desperately trying to flee to Europe, which has seen a massive influx of migrants since 2014. Forced to languish in camps in Libya, many of them embark on a perilous journey across the overcrowded Mediterranean. dangerous boats.

“It is estimated that Kidane has been responsible for trafficking hundreds of victims since 2014. His arrest will neutralize a major human trafficking route to Europe and protect thousands of people who would have been at risk of exploitation. the UAE’s interior ministry said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

Brigadier Saeed Abdullah al Suwaidi, a senior counter-narcotics official in the Emirates, said the arrest of the suspect led to the closure of the route through which migrants were transferred to Libya from Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. From there they had attempted to cross the Mediterranean and land on European shores.

You can share this story on social media:


Not all news on the site reflects the site’s point of view, but we automatically transmit and translate this news through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Leave A Reply