Memoria Mediterranea

Lazhar Chaieb (2019)


Lazhar Chaieb was 33 years old when he set sail from Sfax on October 6, 2019, in a boat loaded with dozens of people. Before he became ill, he had worked in a restaurant in the neighborhood on the outskirts of Sfax where he had always lived with his family. After her visa application was denied, she had decided to set out for Europe anyway, facing the dangers of the sea border in order to get treatment.

In fact, Lazhar Chaieb was suffering from an advanced form of cancer that had left him disabled, unable to work and provide for his family. He needed specialized care that he could not receive in Tunisia. Lazhar dreamed of Europe in order to heal, to recover his health. He had decided to leave to save his life and the welfare of his family. But the main reason Lazhar had set out to sea was Beya, his 3-year-old daughter. However, Lazhar lost his life in a shipwreck on the night of October 6-7, 2019, in the waters off Lampedusa near Rabbit Island. Along with him, three other fellow travelers died: Feker Hmidi, Ben Amor Rabia, Ben Mohamed Talal.

In December 2019, the mothers of the four youths were invited to the Agrigento Public Prosecutor’s Office to complete the identification procedures of the alleged children40. Unfortunately, the bodies of two of them, Lazhar and Feker, had not been pulled out of the sea due to poor weather conditions and therefore DNA testing had not been possible. The mothers of the two young men were only able to recognize and identify their sons through the images of a video shot by Coast Guard divers, without ever being able to see their bodies again.

At the request of Lazhar’s family, for the purpose of family inheritance, through the interlocution between the lawyer. Leonardo Marino for Borderline Sicilia and the Agrigento Public Prosecutor’s Office, we succeededə in getting Lazhar’s mother, Gamra, the record of the interrogation in which it is put on record that Lazhar’s body was identified among those not recovered and therefore left at sea. Instead, the bodies of Ben Amor Rabia and Ben Mohamed Talal were repatriated and buried in Sfax.

With his mother Gamra, we organized memorial events in Lampedusa (2021) and Tunisia (2022) in memory of the young man whose body remained in the Mediterranean waters.

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