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Man arrested over mass drowning of migrants in Channel fighting extradition to France

A gang leader accused of sending more 30 migrants to their deaths through the English Channel is being extradited to France.

Harem Abwbaker is a UK asylum seeker who was reported to have charged the immigrants $3200 (PS2,680 each) for the November trip.

The 32-year old was charged with putting them on a boat that had poor navigation and life-saving equipment.

He allegedly offered his relatives money to keep silent when the boat burst and sink in darkness just two hours after it left France.


French authorities outline allegations

Two survivors survived the attack and Abwbaker was identified as the “right-hand man” of the leader of the gang, according to an extradition warrant issued in France.

He also claimed that he helped migrants onto the boat, and electronic data showed that his phone was at the French coast launch site.

According to Prosecutor Michael McHardy, the warrant stated that migrants were unable to respond to an emergency and “had no chance to face any event at sea.”

Image: Harem Abuwbaker was taken into custody in Cheltenham. Pic by National Crime Agency

Suspect wants to prove his innocence

Abwbaker, a Kurd , was taken into custody in Cheltenham on Tuesday. He gave his address to the court as the Ramada Hotel in the town.

During the 30-minute hearing, he sat on the dock wearing jeans and a grey sweatshirt. He also scratched his beard.

When asked if he would agree to be extradited, the interpreter said, “If I return now how can I come home once I have proven my innocence?” You’re referring to my life and freedom.

Judge Paul Goldspring stated: “It is clear that he is not consenting.”

Continue reading:

The French government will investigate the worst-ever Channel Migrant Disaster

It was previously reported that 27 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of the boat, and that four migrants still remained missing.

The extradition warrant stated that 25 bodies were recovered by the French Navy.

Image Remains of the boat that capsized in the English Channel on November 2021

Abwbaker didn’t ask for bail, and was remanded into custody in anticipation of an extradition hearing scheduled for April. Abwbaker will be appearing in court for a preliminary hearing, 29 December.


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