Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire has identified the names of 12 people who died on a boat allowed to drift in Malta’s search and rescue area in spite of the fact that the Maltese armed forces spotted them when they were still alive.

Omar, Mogos, Hzqiel, Hdru, Huruy, Teklay, Nohom, Kidus, Debesay, and three men named Filmon all died of thirst, starvation or drowning in Maltese waters. Eleven of the men were Christians. Survivors identified “their brother Omar” as muslim. They were aged 18 to 25. Some of them had already tried and failed to make the crossing to Europe before.

The newspaper published photos of 6 of the men who died in Maltese waters during the night of Monday 13th April, a day after Easter. This was the reaction of Malta’s Archbishop Charles Scicluna. He called the 12 men “victims of our policies and of our indifference”.

Their deaths followed appeals from many activists, NGOs and people of conscience for their rescue. The survivors were picked up by a Maltese-owned, Libyan-flagged fishing boat and they landed back at their departure point in Libya on Thursday 16th, a week after they first left the beach of Garabulli.

In Libya they had been held in slavery and were victims of systematic torture.