Divers recover more bodies from Italy refugee wreck
LAMPEDUSA, ITALY (AFP) - Divers in Italy recovered 16 more bodies on Sunday after a shipwreck in which more than 300 African refugees are feared to have died, as a government minister called for an easing of immigration rules.
Officials said the death toll now stands at 127, as divers resumed an operation suspended since Friday because of rough seas off the island of Lampedusa where Thursday's tragedy unfolded.
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge was on the dock of the remote outcrop as corpses were being unloaded, after calling for an easing of Italy's tough rules against illegal immigration.
"The law on immigration cannot be punitive," Ms Kyenge, who has faced a torrent of racist abuse as Italy's first black minister, said earlier. The current law considers all irregular migrants suspects in the crime of "clandestinity" and punishes anyone accused of facilitating landings.