A Maltese man has been extradited to Italy in connection with the Maundy Thursday tragedy, which left nine Chinese immigrants dead, the Maltese authorities have confirmed.

Carmelo Borg, 28, arrived in Ragusa on Thursday where he is wanted in connection with the March 24 tragedy last year. Three of the nine Chinese migrants who perished were never found.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that Mr Borg was accompanied by Interpol agents to Fiumicino airport and then handed over to Ragusa officials.

A European arrest warrant had been issued over his alleged involvement in illegal immigration.

A Chinese woman, Wei Wang, 30, was extradited to Italy last September in connection with the same case and a request for a third extradition - that of Yi Lin, 24 - is pending.

The three were wanted in Italy to face charges of human trafficking and participation in a criminal organisation.

Last November, Mr Borg filed a constitutional application claiming his fundamental rights had been breached when the Justice Minister failed to include a part of the framework decision on the European arrest warrant in the subsidiary legislation on the grounds of which he may be extradited to Italy. The court, however, dismissed his application.

The immigrants were allegedly thought to have left Malta on Maundy Thursday and were forced off a boat in freezing waters some 15 miles off the Sicilian coast - an incident which had shocked both the Italian and Maltese authorities.

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