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The bodies of four of the immigrants who died near Farmakonisi have been discovered

08 February 2014 / 14:02:37  GRReporter
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The Turkish boat, which sank with immigrants, who were trying to reach European territory, has been discovered at a depth of 73 m near Farmakonisi. The bodies of four missing, two adults and two kids have been discovered.

According to the port police, the vessel was discovered on Thursday by the crew of the oceanographic ship "Strabo" of the military fleet and divers reached it on Friday morning. They found the bodies of a man, a woman, a boy and a girl in one of the cabins. According to sources, other bodies were also discovered there, but because of the limited size of the cabin, the lack of time and the risky action, it was not possible to take them out.

By order of the investigator, the four bodies will be taken to the island of Rhodes for an autopsy.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström expressed her hope that the investigation of the tragic event near Farmakonisi will be quick, detailed and transparent. In turn, speaking to the European Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos ensured that the investigation will be comprehensive and without any restrictions.

Malmström said that the action near Farmakonisi was "life-saving" and added that her contacts with Greece convinced her that the great progress was evident, but there were still outstanding issues. She reminded that in terms of border protection, the transfer of immigrants back to their countries was illegal and added that there were allegations that Greece tried to transfer the immigrants back to Turkey.

In turn, Venizelos expressed the sorrow of the Greek government and the Greek society about the tragic accident and ensured that the independent investigation would be "complete and there will be no restrictions." He noted that this should serve as a lesson and mentioned the letter which Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis sent to the Council of Europe and the competent Commissioner, assuring that the circumstances of the crash would be fully transparent.

Venizelos emphasized the increased pressure on the Greek coastline and noted that it has intensified since August 2012 and the beginning of the civil war in Syria. The Deputy Prime Minister reminded about the European solidarity and even distribution of the burden. He also expressed his wish that the plan for the management of immigration flows will be completed by June and stressed that it will not address organized crime.

Criticism of immigration policy

After that, Maria Kopa (PASOK) condemned statements by the Minister of Public Order, who divided immigrants into two categories and, as well as statements by the Minister of the Navy, who accused the European Commissioner of creating a political problem. "We cannot create two classes of people, since human nature is one and the same," replied Venizelos, reiterating that the law will be applied rigorously.

MEP Nikos Houndis (SYRIZA) insisted before the Commissioner that the European law on immigrants should be changed. Kriton Arsenis (PASOK) asked for the review of the Dublin agreement, and Marietta Yiannakou and George Koumoutsakos emphasized the need for an even distribution of the burden, so that the pressure caused by immigrants could be lowered.

Tags: tragedy at Farmakonisi Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom Evangelos Venizelos European Parliament
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