Italian police find five-year-old Afghan boy hidden in suitcase of ‘family friend taking him to Germany’
Assim's journey may have lasted three monthsHe is believed to be from central Afghanistan



15:20 GMT, 20 December 2012


Anything to declare Undocumented boy is believed to be from the Hazara ethnic group, central Afghanistan

A five-year-old Afghan boy has been found hidden in the suitcase of a man getting off a ferry in Venice.

Ali Shaker, 35, of Afghanistan, told
Italian police after disembarking from a ferry from Greece, that he was a
family friend who was taking the boy to see relatives in Germany on
behalf of the boy's parents.

Border patrol agent Antonio De Franchis, who found the child, Assim, on December 4, said that Mr Shaker was ‘incredibly calm’ when he was stopped.

‘He carefully put the suitcase on the table, looked at the sky and opened the suitcase,’ De Franchis said.

‘The boy obviously seemed scared and exhausted. We don’t know how many hours he spent inside the suitcase,’ he said.

The undocumented boy, Assim, is believed to be from the Hazara ethnic group from central Afghanistan. His journey may have lasted up to three months.

Following medical checks, the boy is being looked after by a non-governmental association in Venice.

Italian judges are trying to contact his parents to confirm if what Mr Shaker said is true.

Speaking through an interpreter, the police said Assim had told them: ‘I want my father’ and ‘Germany’.

Ali Shaker is currently under house arrest, charged with aiding undocumented immigration.

Hazara ethnic group standing outside their caves in Bamiyan

Homeland: Assim is believed to be from the Hazara ethnic group, seen here standing outside their caves in Bamiyan, Afghanistan