Man who attacked policemen claims not to remember what happened to him

It is still unclear what provoked an assault on two police officers by a man they were allegedly trying to help

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Mystery still surrounds the cause of an unprovoked assault on police by a man they were allegedly trying to help earlier this week.

Faraj Mohamed Faraj el Ragig, 32, from Libya was arrested after he lunged at two police officers and tried to bite them when they stopped to see whether he needed any help.  

The court was told that though the accused didn’t appear to be in his right mind - vomiting in the detention room before being taken to hospital for medical examination and care – doctors were unable to conclude what was wrong with him.

Prosecuting inspector Robert Vella told the court that El Ragig had given police a detailed account of what he had done that day, but added that “after going to the mosque he hadn’t known what had happened”.

He was charged on Wednesday with attacking police officers, insulting or threatening them during the exercise of their duties, slightly injuring them, breaching the peace, failing to obey legitimate orders and being drunk and incapable of taking care of himself in a public place.  

Prosecuting police inspector Robert Vella and two RIU officers took the stand before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this morning, explaining that the RIU officers had radioed and requested backup after being attacked by a “foreign man” in Marsa.

The accused had been crouched over and leaning on a crash barrier when first seen by police, during a patrol in Marsa. At first it was thought that he had been hit by a car.

He had visible facial injuries and there were pieces of cotton wool sticking out of his ears, the witnesses said.

An ambulance was called to tend to the man’s injuries, but as one officer went over to try and see what was needed, the man stood up, aggressively shouting “Allahuakbar” and attacked the policeman, trying to bite the officer.

“He got up very quickly,” said one officer. “He flew.”

“I was standing in front of him. He got up and came running at me screaming ‘Allahuakbar.’ He started punching and kicking me and broke my pistol holster. I tried to explain that we wanted to help him but he continued to come at me. We had to use a taser as a stun gun, but we couldn’t control him even with the taser, he had to be put on the ground before we could control him.”

The man’s eyes were wide open and had a glazed look, said the officer. “Then, when we put him on the ground, he bit me.”

“It was like he didn’t even feel the taser” said the other officer. “He would get up off the ground with us on top of him.”

After a long struggle el Ragig was handcuffed and taken to the police station. The arresting officers were both slightly injured with scratches and bite-marks to their hands and went to a polyclinic for treatment. Since the man’s arrest, they had been tested for various saliva-borne illnesses, but luckily the results were negative.

The case was adjourned to January.

Inspector Robert Vella is prosecuting. Lawyer Dustin Camilleri is legal aid to the accused.