Migrant Crisis Eritrean extradited to Italy denies being human trafficker

Italian magistrates interviewed the suspect for the first time on Friday in front of his lawyer. "I was arrested by mistake," lawyer Michele Calantropo quoted his client as saying.

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Medhanie Yehdego Mered (C), 35, is pictured with Italian policemen as they land at Palermo airport, Italy, following his arrest in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 24. REUTERS/File Photo play Medhanie Yehdego Mered (C), 35, is pictured with Italian policemen as they land at Palermo airport, Italy, following his arrest in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 24. REUTERS/File Photo
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An Eritrean extradited to Italy from Sudan this week and accused of being a people smuggler has denied the allegation and says he is the victim of mistaken identity, his lawyer said on Friday.

Italian and British officials announced on Wednesday they had secured the arrest of Medhane Yehdego Mered, an alleged trafficking kingpin. However, when images of the man were published, friends and family said he was an Eritrean refugee named Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe.

Italian magistrates interviewed the suspect for the first time on Friday in front of his lawyer. "I was arrested by mistake," lawyer Michele Calantropo quoted his client as saying.

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