Italian authorities have released 16 Egyptian immigrants arrested for attempted illegal entry into Sicily, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced yesterday.
Mohamed Abdel Hakam, assistant foreign minister for consular affairs, said Italy declined to refer the Egyptians to trial because of growing ties between Egypt and Italy.
But Abdel Hakam said European countries have become more strict in their crackdown on illegal migration. Anybody who helps an immigrant enter a European country illegally or get a job there is subject to punishment, according to Abdel Hakam.
Passage from Egypt to Italy via the Mediterranean is common, especially after Libyan coastal restrictions recently took effect. Libya was formerly a primary point of departure for illegal migration.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.