Libyan man says police officials assaulted him during questioning

Defence lawyer calls on police commissioner to investigate assault allegations and take necessary actions against police officials involved.

A Libyan man accused of injuring police officers while in police custody has today claimed in court that police at the St Julian’s police station unfairly apprehended him and assaulted him.

32-year-old Libyan Eihab Ahmed Ahmed Elsadi, who resides in Gzira, stood charged with injuring police officers, of breaching public peace, of disobeying police orders, of being in a drunk state, and of being in possession of two ecstasy pills.

He is pleading not guilty.

The incident occurred on Tuesday morning when the accused, who is currently in Malta as a student, was in a drunken state. Police officials were called in, but the man then got into a bus and tried to flee the scene of the crime. The police then entered the bus and arrested him.

A search on the accused yielded two ecstasy pills.

Lawyer Anthony Cutajar, who appeared as legal aid for Elsadi, told the court that after being released from questioning, the accused asked the police why they had apprehended him.

An argument then allegedly ensued, and the police and the accused got into an altercation. He was then taken to a nearby polyclinic and certified to have suffered slight injuries.

Displaying his alleged injuries before the court this morning, the accused told Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit that the police had assaulted him.

Consequently, lawyer Anthony Cutajar called the court to investigate the allegations.

“The Commissioner of Police should investigate such allegations and take the necessary action against the police officials involved. My client [the accused] is willing to cooperate against such officials.”

Noting the lawyer’s submission, Magistrate Stafrace Zammit ruled that she will not order an investigation into the allegations due “to the nature of the charges.” She however ordered that the accused be examined by a doctor.

In her judgement, the Magistrate noted that Eihab Elsadi is unable to pay a deposit due to financial constraints. She consequently did not order him to pay a deposit, but granted him bail against a personal guarantee of €15,000.

Inspector Trevor Micallef prosecuted while Lawyer Anthony Cutajar was legal aid.