The case against the defendant results from a broader investigation into the activities of an organised criminal group – mostly composed of Eritrean nationals – operating in Italy and with tight connections abroad. The main scope of the organised criminal group is the smuggling of migrants (Eritrean, in their majority) into Italy and other E.U. country, with the purpose of obtaining a profit therewith (usually, between 120 and 200 Euro per person).
The defendant organised and arranged the clandestine trip of irregular migrants arrived in Italy to countries of Central and Northern European, often by bus as it would not imply any document control. To this end, he was in contact with other identified and non-identified intermediaries of the organised criminal group. The main scope of the defendant’s activities was to remove migrants from reception centres before their photo identification and registration in the Eurodac system, thus enabling the presentation of asylum claims in other countries rather than Italy (country of irregular entry) as per the so-called Dublin II System. The defendant also accommodated irregular migrants awaiting their travel to the desired final countries of destination.
The defendant admitted to the logistical assistance provided to irregular migrants but denied to have had any lucrative purpose.
In ascertaining the facts, authorities took into account the result of interception of communications, documental and testimonial evidence. Authorities further performed verification diligences.
The Preliminary Investigations Judge of Catania (Italy) deemed there were no significant indicia of participation in an organised criminal group dedicated to the smuggling of migrants (associazione a delinquere). To the contrary it considered the evidentiary material supported the probable responsibility of the defendant for the crime of migrant smuggling. Accordingly, it determined – as precautionary measure - the defendant’s obligation to present himself before the Criminal Police every day of the week.
On appeal, the Court of Catania confirmed the precautionary measure.
For further details, see infra “Commentary”,