Ħal Safi detention centre rioters jailed for four years and fined

Two migrants who set fire to a tent at the Ħal Safi detention centre have been jailed for four years and fined €8,600

Court sends two migrants to jail over detention centre arson
Court sends two migrants to jail over detention centre arson

Two migrants who were found guilty of setting a fire that destroyed several tents at the Ħal Safi detention centre last December have been jailed for four years.

Egyptians Guma Mohammed and Yousef Halef Abdel Hamid were also fined €8,691 each.

In his judgment on the matter, Magistrate Joe Mifsud said that public order applies to everyone, insisting that a few miscreants were “casting an ugly shadow” over others in their situation, despite Malta having treated them well and welcomed them.

Mifsud urged the authorities to deport the men back to Egypt after they served their sentence. 

The immigrants had been charged with causing damage to State property as well as participating in an illegal riot, ignoring police orders and breaching the peace.

The incident took place on 12 December. 

The accused, aged 30 and 26 respectively, were amongst 11 persons arrested after the riot.

The court was told how the accused had set fire to a tent at the detention centre despite the possibility of other immigrants being inside. The men had denied the charges.

Mifsud said the men’s actions were not acceptable in a democracy governed by the rule of law and not by the destruction and burning of property. 

Whoever sought protection in Malta with a valid reason, was always given such a status, even if proceedings were drawn out because of the lack of cooperation of that same person, by attempting to hide their identity, said the magistrate.

“And whoever tries to, in some way, justify their actions is doing great damage to the same persons who decide to protest in this way, because they will serve long prison sentences as laid down by the law,” he ruled.

Inspector Roderick Attard prosecuted.

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