Someone is getting rich off immigrants' false passport problem, lawyer tells court

Two jailed for attempting to leave Malta with fake travel documents • Inspector Frankie Sammut revealed that the police had dealt with 120 similar cases in the last month 

A court has been asked to send a message to explain the futility of trying to travel away from Malta on falsified passports, as it jailed two men from Sudan for attempting to do just that.

Yahya Younes Abdelmarsi, 22, and Suleiman Giddo, 25, both from Sudan and residing at the Hal Far tent village were arrested yesterday as they tried to leave the islands using fake travel documents.

They were charged in separate proceedings by Inspector Frankie Sammut before magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo this morning, accused of falsifying passports, making use of falsified passports and being in possession of a forged public document.

Their legal aid lawyer, Fransina Abela, told the court that the men would be pleading guilty. The court warned them that their punishment would be between six months and two years of imprisonment and gave them the opportunity to withdraw their guilty plea. Both men, insisted on pleading guilty, however.

Abela asked the court to take into consideration the early guilty plea. They were here for a year, she said. “I want them to be released and go back to their friends in Hal Far and inform them that these actions are not working. Many of them have gone to prison in the past few weeks and their friends are thinking that they’ve gone home.”

But Inspector Sammut objected to this argument, saying that just last month, the police dealt with 120 such cases. He asked for an increase in punishment. “You don’t send the right message by suspending their sentence,” he said.

Abela argued that the men were being abused by someone to get rich. “They don’t even know what they’re doing. They are thinking that their friends are in Sicily. This is an injustice, they are being abused by someone,” she said.

The court handed both men a six-month prison sentence.