Libyan asylum seeker charged with raping Hungarian woman

Libyan man remanded in custody after being accused of raping and attacking 27-year-old Hungarian woman in Paceville on Saturday • Court orders that expert analyses woman's sobriety at the time of alleged offence

A Libyan asylum seeker residing in St Julian's has been remanded in custody after being accused of raping and assaulting a 27-year-old Hungarian woman on Saturday in Paceville.

Standing before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, Ezzedin Salem Elaoud, 26, of Tripoli, was also charged with attacking the woman and causing her slight injury. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Libyan man, whom the court was told has an expired “migration card” and a pending application for asylum with the Refugee Commission, was arrested on Saturday after police were informed that a bruised and bloodied Hungarian woman lay on the steps of an apartment block in Triq Wilga, Paceville, at around 4:00am.

The woman, who was subsequently taken to Mater Dei Hospital to be treated for her injuries, identified the accused as one of her alleged aggressors before he was arrested by police.

Previous news reports claimed that sources close to the police’s preliminary investigations flagged the woman’s claims as “questionable” because the sexual encounter between her and her alleged aggressor appeared to be “consensual.”

The woman reportedly smelled of alcohol when she was found, prompting the defence to request that an expert be appointed to analyse samples taken from the alleged victim to determine her sobriety at the time of the commission of the alleged offence.

Upholding the defence’s request, the court, presided by Duty Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, ordered that this analysis be done immediately. The court also urged the prosecution to summon the witnesses as soon as possible after the defence said it would not be requesting bail for the accused pending the testimony of the witnesses involved.

As a result, the accused was remanded in custody.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi represented the Libyan, while Legal procurator Quentin Tanti appeared in parte civile for the alleged victim. Police Inspectors Matthew Spagnol and John Spiteri prosecuted.

Also arraigned this morning was an Eritrean national, resident in Zebbug, who was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to another foreign man.

Police Inspector Priscilla charged Solomon Berhe Tesfamaryam, 20,with grievously injuring another man in Marsa yesterday morning. He was also charged with breaching the peace. He pleaded not guilty, but did not request bail and was remanded in custody.

Lawyer Noel Cutajar represented the accused in that case.