We lied to them. We told them they were being escorted to Lampedusa. Instead, we dumped them on a dock in Libya – one of the few countries that have not even signed the Geneva Convention on Refugees (see map).
According to Italian news reports, we intercepted 227 people who thought the had ended their long trek to escape from Niger, Chad, Mali, Sudan and who knows where else. We did not bother verifying if any of them might qualify for asylum under the Geneva convention. We sent them back to be locked up in Libyan detention centers, beaten and raped by police officers. Eight-five per cent of the women who get this far, says a spokesperson for Catholic NGO Caritas, have already been raped on their way to Italy.
And all of this for a handful of votes.