19 migrants jailed over Hal Safi riots

19 out of a group of 20 migrants charged in connection with a riot at the Hal Safi detention centre have been sentenced to one year in prison

(File photo)
(File photo)

19 out of a group of 20 migrants charged in connection with a riot at the Hal Safi detention centre have been sentenced to imprisonment after they were found guilty of related charges.

In a sitting this afternoon, Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia heard Idris Mohammed Lugman, Adam Yahya Mohammed, Taha Adam Ahmed, David Sunday, Yusuf Avdallah Ahmed, Yassen Naser, Tigani Ali Mohammed, Alnil Hamid, Musar Mohammed, Edregs Osman Fahed, Qamar Al Din Jebreel Abo, Eers Sadalla, Adam Ramadan Abdelrahman, Ibrahim Suieman Yousef, Anward Malik, Abdul Galeel Ahmed Mohamed, Musa Abubaker, Ali Mostafa and a 17-year-old boy admit to causing criminal damage to government property, taking part in an unlawful assembly, disobeying legitimate orders and breaching the peace.

The court, however, observed that there was insufficient or conflicting evidence produced as to the items, such as bunk beds, televisions and CCTV cameras allegedly damaged and their cost.

With regards one of the accused, 18-year-old Montaser Motually, the court noted that he had pleaded not guilty to the charges and said that it had “serious doubts” as to his guilt after five detention centre staff members told the court that they had not seen him participating in the riot. Motually alone was declared innocent of all the charges brought against him.

In her considerations on punishment, the magistrate noted that the admission could not be called an early one, as proceedings had reached the defence evidence stage. For all intents and purposes, the men had clean criminal records as they had been in Malta only a few months and it was impossible for the prosecution to obtain criminal records from the countries where the men had previously resided, said magistrate Farrugia. The court noted that the accused had apologised for their actions and had expressed newfound appreciation towards Safi detention centre staff.

The court jailed the guilty men for one year. The 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment. The time they had spend under arrest will count towards their sentence.

Lawyer Noel Bartolo was defence counsel. Inspector Roderick Attard prosecuted.

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