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October 8, 2013

Lampedusa dead honoured as survivors detained

Italians online question government's treatment of shipwreck survivors.

Coffins of children are pictured among coffins of victims in an hangar of Lampedusa airport on October 5, 2013. AFP/ALBERTO PIZZOLI

Update: This story has been edited to add that the victims of the Lampedusa ship wreck will not receive posthumous citizenship. They will be honoured with a state funeral.

Hundreds of asylum seekers killed in the Lampedusa ship wreck will receive state honours, but Italians online are focusing on the survivors, who face deportation and fines. 
At a conference at Siena University on Friday, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta reportedly said of the victims, "from today they are Italian citizens".
The victims will not receive citizenship, though Letta said at a press conference Wednesday that they will have a state funeral. 
The asylum seekers were killed after a smugglers boat thought to be carrying more than 500 people capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa, leaving at least 250 dead. Most of the passengers on the boat were reportedly Eritrean asylum seekers.

Many took Letta's reported comments on citizenship literally, comparing his honouring of the dead to the treatment of the survivors.