Trial of El Hiblu 3 will go ahead despite calls by activists for case to be dropped

Case against Amara, Abdalla, and Kade will not be dismissed and trial will go ahead

Amara, Abdalla, and Kade - the El Hiblu 3
Amara, Abdalla, and Kade - the El Hiblu 3

The trial of the El Hiblu 3 will go ahead despite calls by activists to drop the charges against them.

In a short court session on Thursday, it became clear that the case will not be dismissed and the trial will go ahead.

Amara, Abdalla, and Kader found themselves in Malta after preventing an unlawful pushback to Libya while on board the El Hiblu oil tanker. Despite their roles as mediators and translators, the police accused them of terrorism and other serious offences, initiating a legal battle that has persisted to this day.

An international campaign has rallied behind them, demanding justice and the immediate dropping of charges. Supporters such as PL MEP Cyrus Engerer and President Emeritus Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca have lauded their courage in the face of adversity, recognising them as human rights defenders deserving of acclaim.

“We are appalled that Amara, Kader and Abdalla will remain in legal limbo after more than five years,” activists said. “Since they arrived in Malta in 2019, their lives have been put on hold. Their youth has been stolen. For acting as translators and mediators on the merchant vessel El Hiblu 1 and playing an important role in preventing the forced return of over 100 people to Libya, they continue to pay a very high price.”

Activists said that the three are still not free of charges is “devastating”.

“We are now in the 6th year of this farce, since Amara, Kader and Abdalla first arrived in Malta in Spring 2019. That the case is still not dismissed and that they can still not live their lives in dignity and freedom is deeply shocking and troubling. It reveals so much about the ways in which people on the move are treated in Europe today – criminalised for having fled violence across borders,” Maurice Stierl of the Coalition for the El Hiblu 3 stated. “We will continue to stand beside them as they weather this cruel injustice. We will stand with the El Hiblu 3 as long as it takes and until they are free.”