Evidence obtained by the Guardian exposes a coordinated and unlawful EU assault on the rights of desperate people trying to cross the Mediterranean
As night fell on 26 March 2019, two small boats made their way north across the Mediterranean. The rubber crafts were flimsy; it would be nearly impossible for those onboard to make it to Europe without help. From the north, a twin-propeller aeroplane from the European Union naval force approached. From the south, the coastguard from the country they had just fled, Libya, was coming.
The aircraft arrived first but there would be no rescue from Europe. Instead the flight, callsign Seagull 75, radioed the Libyans telling them where to find the boats. But Libya’s would-be interceptors would need more than just the coordinates. “OK sir, my radar is not good, is not good, if you stay [over the boat] I will follow you,” said the coastguard, according to recordings of VHF marine radio picked up by a nearby ship.
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This article was supported by the Migration Newsroom, an investigative reporting collaboration between Lighthouse Reports and leading European media.