Eritrean human smuggler wanted by the Netherlands arrested in Sudan

A 39-year-old Eritrean man, who has been on the Netherlands’ most wanted list since October 2021, was arrested on 1 January 2023 in Sudan in an international police operation led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of a money laundering investigation. He is currently detained in the UAE. The Netherlands will request for his extradition.

In the Netherlands, the man is the main suspect in an investigation of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Royal Marechaussee (KMar) concerning migration-related crimes. The investigation focusses on an extremely violent criminal organization that smuggles mainly African migrants to Europe and is carried out in cooperation with, among others, Italy, the International Criminal Court, Europol and Interpol.

The man was the subject of two Interpol Red Notices, by the Netherlands and Ethiopia. The UAE and Interpol announced his arrest on Thursday, 5 January 2023 at a (digital) press conference and in a press statement.

The man was previously detained in Ethiopia but managed to escape from the court premises during a trial hearing. In absentia, he was found guilty of human smuggling in Africa and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Ethiopia.

Netherlands will request extradition

The Netherlands will request the UAE for extradition of the man with the aim to prosecute him for crimes other than those for which he stood trial in Ethiopia. In addition to heinous migration-related crimes, he is also suspected of extorting migrants and their families. The National Public Prosecutor’s Office in Zwolle is leading the investigation.

In October last year, Ethiopia extradited another suspect in this case to the Netherlands.

This second suspect will appear in court on Tuesday, 10 January 2023 for a first pre-trial hearing before the Overijssel Court of First Instance.