Libyan gives account of Swieqi stabbing incident

Zouhir Elfezqa is charged with attempted murder of Wadea al Maghrbi and with grievously injuring him, after he stabbed him in the thigh during an argument. 

A Libyan man accused of the attempted murder of his flat mate’s friend last January has told the court that he didn't know how a friend of his flat mate was stabbed during an altercation with him.

Zouhir Elfezqa, 31, who resides in Swieqi, is charged with attempted murder of Wadea al Maghrbi and with grievously injuring him, after he stabbed him in the thigh during an argument. 

Al Maghrbi, 31, also of Swieqi, who nearly lost his life in the attack, is charged with attempting to grievously injure Elfezqa. Mohammed Abdul Hafid Abukem, is also accused of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on Elfezqa.

Tripoli-born Elfezqa testified this morning as the compilation of evidence against all three men were heard simultaneously.

He said that on the day of the stabbing, he had been asleep on the couch in the Swieqi apartment where he still lives to this day, when his assailant had attacked him.

“I was asleep at home, alone. Mohammed was in one of the bedrooms ... I was asleep on the couch. At around 7:30 – I don't know what time exactly, Wadea [Al Maghrbi] hit me on the head with­ a metal rod and grabbed my shirt and dragged me to the sitting room.”

There, Al Maghrbi, told him “your people took my brother.” Asked to clarify what this meant, he said they were talking about his brother in Libya.

Although the men had ties to different factions, he had no prior problems with Al Maghrbi, he insisted.

He gave an account of the fight that ensued, saying that Al Maghrbi had hit him in the chin with the metal rod, before pulling out a knife. The two wrestled for control of the weapon and fell to the ground. He pushed had pushed Al Maghrbi.

 “He was going to stab me. I wanted to protect myself. I thought I was going to die ...I had been hit in the head and in the leg and he was drunk.”

Elfezqa told the court that he needed stitches to his chin as well as having been hit on his head and back. The head, back and chin wounds had been caused by the rod and the leg wound had been inflicted with the knife.

The police had taken him to hospital where he was treated, he said.

Asked about the metal bar, the witness described it as being “around 20cm long and heavy.”

Mohamed Hafed al-Arara, who had been asleep on the sofa when the fight started, held Abukem, who was claiming that Elfezqa's faction had kidnapped his sisters in Libya, back from joining the fray, he said. 

He had known the attackers from before and had no prior disagreements with them, he repeated, adding that they would share meals together.

“They weren't walking straight and Mohammed had told me that they smelled of alcohol when they walked in the door.”

But when Inspector Grech asked him how Al Maghrbi had ended up suffering injuries. Elfezqa said he didn't know. Al Maghrbi had fallen on him first, as they tumbled on the mattress that Mohammed had been sleeping on and then Al Maghrbi had fallen on Elfezqa.

“I saw blood and pushed him towards the balcony.” The knife was always in Al Maghrbi's hands he said. Al Maghrbi smiled and made a gesture of disbelief.

The accused said he had then left the building and made his way to a nearby friend's house.

“If I had wanted to get into this kind of trouble, I would have stayed in Libya,” he said.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, Martin Fenech, Giannella de Marco and Gianluca Caruana Curran are appearing for the accused.