German police on Tuesday arrested an Afghan citizen on suspicion of smuggling migrants by sea from Turkey to Greece resulting in the death of several dozen people when the boat sank, federal police and prosecutors said.
The man is believed to have been on board the smugglers’ boat which had 90 migrants on board when it capsized in poor weather in January 2016, federal police and prosecutors in the northwestern city of Osnabrueck said in a joint statement.
Only 24 of the people on board were rescued. The Greek coastguard retrieved 35 bodies from the water, while the rest remain missing, they said.
Germany, the main destination for migrants in Europe, has been prosecuting individuals suspected of belonging to the smuggling rings that charge thousands of euros for the short sea journey from Turkey to Greece.
The suspect arrested in Osnabrueck, who was not named in the statement, was saved and presented himself to Greek authorities as a refugee before seeking asylum in Germany a month later.