Iranian man appears in French court over migrant boat tragedy

An Iranian man has appeared before a judge in France after a migrant boat sank in the English Channel, leaving at least four people dead.
The 37-year-old suspect is believed to have been piloting the vessel when it capsized off the coast of Dunkirk on Tuesday.

He faced an investigative judge on Friday, with a view to being charged with manslaughter, according to Dunkirk public prosecutor Sebastien Pieve.

Image: Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six. Pic: Hengaw Organisation for Human Rights
Rasoul Iran-Nejad and his wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, both 35, drowned along with two of their children – nine-year-old Anita and Armin who was six.
Their third child Artin, who was only 15 months old, is presumed to be dead along with two other adults.


Mr Iran-Nejad’s cousin, who asked not to be named, said their family in Iran was “devastated” and called on the French government to help repatriate their bodies, which is believed to cost more than £90,000.

Meanwhile, Choman Manish, a 37-year-old Kurdish refugee from Iran, told Sky News he spoke to the “beautiful friendly family” regularly at their makeshift home in a jungle camp near Dunkirk, France.

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Mr Manish said: “I’m really so sad because I know this family. I advised them, please don’t go by boat, it’s not good and a really bad situation if you stay in the water.

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‘I said please don’t go by boat’ before fatal trip

“I said, it will be bad for you. They told me God is big. I know God is big, but what can I do.
“I told them many times, but they never accepted my word.. they trusted in God, they think God will protect them.”
The vessel was carrying about 20 migrants and it is believed that no life jackets were issued on the boat.
Fifteen people were rescued, with eight suffering from hypothermia and two in cardiac arrest, local firefighters said on Tuesday.
Sky News understands the vessel faced difficulties due to the rough weather and strong winds when it was in French waters, about 2km from the French coast on Tuesday morning.

Image: A search operation was carried out to try to find survivors
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK had offered French authorities “every support” in their investigation.
He added: “We will do all we can to crackdown on the ruthless gangs who prey on vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the deaths as “an ultimate tragedy” which “could have been avoided”.
Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Source : Sky News