Syrian admits to hiding co-national in car boot from Catania to Malta

Syrian pleads guilty to hiding fellow villager among toilet paper rolls while returning back to Malta from Catania; Court orders deportation of co-national.

A Syrian man from Homs has pleaded guilty to helping a fellow villager enter Malta illegally by hiding him in the boot of his vehicle among toilet paper rolls after a trip to Catania.

The incident occurred on Saturday, when the accused, Ahmad Farhoud, 34, of Homs, Syria, went to a market in Catania to purchase some items. Upon arriving at the market, Farhoud met a fellow Syrian, Mohamed Ahmad, who in turn told him that he was experiencing a rough time in Sicily.

Subsequently, the accused – who was keen on helping his fellow Homs villager – hid him in the boot of his Renault Megane. The court heard that upon arriving in Malta, seaport officials found the man hidden among toilet paper rolls in the car boot.

In submissions, the prosecution, led by Inspector Frankie Sammut, and defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, both held that a six-month suspended jail term, a €5,000 fine would suffice, and the seizure of the vehicle, would suffice.

The prosecution also explained that the accused cooperated with police, and that Farhoud cannot be deported because he is under subsidiary protection. In its submissions, the defence, argued that despite committing an illegal act, the accused had only done a good deed to aide a fellow countryman and that he was sorry.

Notwithstanding the agreement between the prosecution and the defence, the court, presided by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja ordered that a pre-sentencing report be compiled.  In the meantime, Ahmad Farhoud was granted bail against a €2,000 deposit and a €4,000 personal guarantee.

Meanwhile, the court found Farhoud’s countryman, Mohamed Ahmad, guilty of entering into Malta using expired travel documents. He was given a one year jail sentence, suspended for three years.

The court also ordered that the man be deported immediately.

Inspector Frankie Sammut prosecuted, while Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Martin Fenech were defence counsel.