Three teenage migrants have been charged with hijacking a tanker that had rescued them off the coast of Libya. The case highlights some current problems with EU immigration policy.
Three teenage migrants from Guinea and Ivory Coast were charged in a Maltese court on Saturday with terrorist activity after allegedly hijacking a merchant ship that saved them off the coast of Libya and forcing it to sail to the Mediterranean island.
Fears of such incidents have grown since the European Union introduced a policy aimed at shipping rescued migrants back to Libya, where they face mistreatment in detention camps.
The defendants, aged 15, 16 and 19, were arrested on Thursday on board the El Hiblu 1, a Palau-flagged tanker that had diverted from its course from Turkey to Libya after being asked to rescue nearly 100 migrants. The three are accused of having commandeered the vessel on Wednesday when they realized that it was headed to Libya.
Under Maltese law, hijacking a ship is considered an act of terrorism carrying a punishment of between seven years and life in prison.