Ahrax kidnap victim appears to have fled Malta, court told

A court has been told that the victim of an alleged kidnapping appears to have fled Malta some days after being tied, naked, to a tree and threatened with a knife after being abducted

A court has been told that the victim of an alleged kidnapping appears to have fled Malta some days after being tied, naked, to a tree and threatened with a knife after being abducted.

Criminal proceedings against Slovak Peter Tupta, 49, Anton Triscik, 47 and Adam Mazurkovic, 22, all of whom are currently in police custody over their alleged involvement in the abduction of a 30-year-old Slovak national, continued yesterday. 

Last week, the prosecution had informed the court that the alleged victim was proving hard to trace, having apparently supplied a false address and was not answering his phone. 

When the case was called on Thursday, prosecuting inspector Jessica Bezzina confirmed to the court that the police had not succeeded in contacting the man. He appears to have purchased a one-way ticket for an outbound catamaran trip, the court was told.

The alleged kidnappers are pleading not guilty to detaining the man against his will, using violence against him and slightly injuring him in an attempt to extort money, as a result of a debt which the alleged victim had with Triscik.

Several police officers testified on Thursday, recalling what the man had told them of the abduction and the events leading to the arrest of the suspects. 

On January 27, the men had approached the victim in Mellieħa, and Mazurkovic had allegedly grabbed his hands while the other two men took away all of his personal belongings. 

The men allegedly forced him into a car and took him to a campsite at l-Aħrax tat-Tunnara, where he was allegedly stripped naked, tied to a tree with cables and threatened at knifepoint in a bid to obtain his Revolut password.

The kidnappers allegedly threatened him with “serious consequences” unless he paid the debt, as Tupta grabbed the man’s genitals with his gloved hands. 

Later on that night, the men drove the victim to Sliema, where it is alleged that they held him against his will at the hotel where they were staying. 

The next day, the three accused, together with their victim, drove to a notarial office, with the intention of getting him to sign a constitution of debt. 

It was then that the man had managed to escape, running into a nearby coffee shop and calling for help. 

Police officers had arrived at the Sliema coffee shop shortly after the 3 pm call to the control room where they found the victim sitting on the floor.
As officers helped the man outside, he had pointed towards the three men, claiming that they were the ones who had allegedly stolen his personal belongings. 

Officers testified that the man was very fearful and was in a state of shock.

A search of the suspects had recovered several items belonging to the victim. 

After hearing the witnesses, magistrate Audrey Demicoli declared that there was sufficient evidence for all three accused to be placed under a bill of indictment. 

The defence lawyers requested bail, arguing that as the alleged victim was no longer in Malta, the accused could not be kept under arrest indefinitely, pending his return.

In addition to this, the testimony had demonstrated that the accused had not sought to escape on the day of their arrest, but had, to the contrary, obeyed orders and waited for the police, argued the lawyers.

The request was turned down, however, after the court took note of the prosecution’s objections.

The case continues. 

Lawyers Stefano Filletti and Stephen Tonna Lowell are defence counsel. 

Inspectors Jessica Bezzina, Ryan M. Vella and Joseph Busuttil, are prosecuting.