A Muslim migrant in Spain has gone on trial, accused of murdering with a “religious motivation” six Christian refugees, including a pastor, on a voyage across the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe.
The Cameroonian captain of the boat is thought to have beaten the Christians with a wooden plank before forcing them overbored, condemning them to certain death, because they were saying catholic prayers.
The Nigerian pastor was subjected to horrific abuse before he drowned, the public prosecutor wrote before the start of the trial in Almería, south-eastern Spain.
“They badly wounded him before throwing him overboard”, the prosecutor said, according to the Telegraph.
The Muslims are even thought to have humiliated the Christians migrants, stealing their money and attempting to strip them of all Christian iconography and symbols.
The Cameroonians captain and his deputy were found to be carrying €1,500 in cash, the same amount witnesses said had been on their victims before the killings.
Multiple witnesses, who also made the 2014 crossing from Morocco to the southern shore of Spain, described how the Muslims believed a storm had been caused by the Christian’s prays.
Around 29 of the 50 migrants who survived the journey said the Muslim had “blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayers led by a Catholic pastor on board”, the Telegraph reports.
At least 21 people perished during the disastrous crossing, but only one body washed ashore.
The witnesses said that the captain’s second in command on the small boat “believed that the weather worsened every time the victims prayed”. However, he has died since arriving in Spain two years ago.
According to the prosecution, the Muslim captain “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”.
The prosecutor has asked for six separate terms of 15 years for murder with the aggravating factor of “religious motivation”, amounting to a 90-year sentence.
A similar case of a “religious massacre” occurred during a migrant crossing from Libya to Italy in April last year.
Fifteen Muslims migrants were arrested after arriving in Sicily for allegedly murdering 12 Christians and throwing their corpses into the sea.