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Greek coastguards rapped for forcing 'smuggler' to look at dead migrants

19 January 2016, 14:13

Athens - Greece's shipping minister has criticised coastguards who forced an alleged Turkish smuggler to look at the bodies of three dead migrant children who died crossing the Aegean.

"Clearly this is exaggerated behaviour," Shipping Minister Thodoris Dritsas said in a statement late on Monday.

"The state and its officials should be cool-headed and professional against any detainee, even one accused of heinous crimes," Dritsas said.

The affair surfaced after Sky News on Friday broadcast footage of a distressing migrant rescue near the Greek island of Samos where two two-year-old boys and a four-year-old girl died.

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The coastguards arrested a 21-year-old Turk who was driving the boat as a suspected smuggler, and forced him to look at the bodies of the children until he broke down in tears.

"We should all respect the presumption of innocence until one is irrevocably declared to be guilty," the minister said.

A prosecutor on Samos is to decide whether to press manslaughter charges against the alleged smuggler, who told Sky News he had been forced to pilot the boat.

Convicted migrant smugglers face heavy sentences in Greece if convicted.

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