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Muslim boat captain accused of murdering six Christian refugees by throwing them overboard

Prosecution claims Alain N.B. targeted migrants wearing crosses and blamed them for a storm

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 21 September 2016 15:22 BST
At least 21 refugees died as the boat hit a storm off the coast of Granada
At least 21 refugees died as the boat hit a storm off the coast of Granada (AP)

A Muslim boat captain has been put on trial for the murder of six Christian refugees, after he was accused of pushing them overboard as their craft travelled to Spain.

The Cameroonian captain, identified as Alain NB, was guiding the craft from Morocco and allegedly "blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayer led by a Catholic pastor" and "believed that the weather worsened every time they prayed", according to several of the surviving refugees who were on the boat.

Prosecutors in Almeria, Spain, argue the captain should face a prison sentence of 90 years if found guilty - 15 years for each of the offences he was accused of.

During the incident in December 2014, police say Alain NB and his second in command beat the Christian refugees severely with wooden boards before throwing them off the 50-man inflatable boat into the "raging sea". One of the bodies was discovered off the coast of Granada the following week.

The men have even been accused of searching passengers for crosses and jewellery which would identify them as Christian, before singling them out for beating according to the Telegraph. Alain NB's second in command is said to have died in Spain before the start of the trial.

The prosecution said Alain NB "was aware that the victims could not possibly survive and that they would die, either by drowning, from the cold, or from the physical injuries they had suffered.

"He was aware of the low temperature, the rough seas and the great distance from the coast and the absence of any nearby boats which could rescue them."

At least 21 of the passengers on board the craft are thought to have died during the journey, as the boat was hit by high winds and dangerous waves.

The 29 survivors of the voyage were all given psychological assistance for their trauma and were found to be too afraid to state what had happened.

Alain NB has denied all the charges brought against him, and the trial continues.

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