Osman Ismail Matammud, 22, was jailed in September 2016 after being recognized in Milan by his former victims — two young girls who had been held at a detention camp in the Libyan town of Bani Walid before getting on a boat to Italy.
The court found Matammud guilty of holding captive dozens of his fellow nationals, both men and women, and torturing them to extort money from their families back home.
Four people died as a result of the torture he inflicted, the court found, according to ANSA news agency.
The young man, who had passed himself off as an asylum seeker in order to enter Italy, defended himself by saying he was also a victim at the migrant detention camp.
Present at the sentencing were several more of his victims, who joined the case as civil plaintiffs. They told ANSA that they were thankful to Italy for “having received justice”.
Matammud will have to serve the first three years of his sentence in daytime solitary confinement, and if he happens to get out before serving his full sentence, he must be deported immediately, the Milan court also ruled.
The victims and the perpetrator all reached Italy after being rescued from migrant boats run by human traffickers.
Italy this year made deals with Libya to stop the flow of migrants from the Libyan coast, raising concerns about the human rights situation in migrant detention camps in the north African country.
“In a 40-year career I have never seen anything as horrific,” said Ilda Boccassini, one of the judges, who has prosecuted notorious mafia murderers.
Seventeen of his Somali victims told the court that he had tortured them with electric shocks and metal rods, beaten them with stones and raped the women.