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.