Syrian convicted of using forged French passports to leave Malta

Syrian man handed suspended jail term after pleading guilty to making use of five French passports to try and leave Malta illegally. 

A 43-year-old Syrian man was today handed a one-year jail term suspended for two years after he admitted to making use of false French passports to try to leave Malta illegally with his wife and three children.

Nouri Mahmoud Said, residing at the Hal Far open centre, also pleaded guilty to being in possession of five forged passports.

Prosecuting inspector Darren Buhagiar told the court that on September 24, he was informed that the accused, along with his wife and children, went to the seaport and was about to board a catamaran to Pozzallo.

At check-in, seaport staff became suspicious of the passports, and called police. Upon realising that they had been caught out, the Syrian family ran away and were eventually arrested by police and arraigned in court.

The inspector explained that this practice was increasing, claiming that it has normally prevalent with Syrians. Inspector Buhagiar argued that some of the Syrians who arrive in Malta are not intent on seeking asylum, but conversely, see it as a pit stop to go to Italy near their relatives or friends.

On Tuesday, a 34-year-old man from Syria, Ahmad Farhoud, was also arraigned after admitting to helping a co-national enter Malta illegally by hiding him in the boot of his car after a trip to Catania. The court ruled that even though Farhoud had good intentions, his actions were nevertheless illegal.

Lawyer Renzo Porsella Flores was legal aid, while Inspector Darren Buhagiar prosecuted.