[WATCH] Young soldiers accused of Souleymane murder plead not guilty

The two young soldiers were also charged with killing animals despite not having a veterinary license and the publishing and verbalising of hate on the basis of race

Francesco Fenech and Lorin Scicluna were charged in court on Sunday
Francesco Fenech and Lorin Scicluna were charged in court on Sunday

Two young Armed Forces of Malta soldiers were charged on Sunday with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane and the attempted murder of two other persons while they were walking back home in Hal Far in April.

They were also charged with the attempted murder of another man from Chad in February.

The prosecution clearly stated in its charges that the murder was fully or partially motivated by hate on the basis of identity, race and colour.

Francesco Fenech, 21, from Marsascala pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lorin Scicluna, 22, from Paola pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The courtroom was crowded by the family members of the accused and eight police officers as the accused stood before presiding magistrate Josette Demicoli. 

The afeared and the feared: Lorin Scicluna (left) was visibly distraught in court as Francesco Fenech (right) seemed composed as they were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane
The afeared and the feared: Lorin Scicluna (left) was visibly distraught in court as Francesco Fenech (right) seemed composed as they were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane

The prosecution painted the picture of two psychopath killers as it revealed that it was also charging the two young men of killing various animals and regularly publishing or verbalising hate.

While Scicluna was visibly distraught, lip shaking, as his mother cried at the back of the courtroom, Fenech seemed composed, his movements and demeanour easy.

Fenech’s mother, behind him, was soundless throughout proceedings, although his sister was quietly shedding tears.

The two allegedly killed Lassana Cisse Souleymane, 42, and father of three children, on 6 April at around 11pm as the Ivorian was walking back home from a football game between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

The accused had been driving a Toyota Startlet when they allegedly fired shots at the three victims, maiming two and killing one.

The accused being brought before the court on Sunday
The accused being brought before the court on Sunday

The prosecution revealed that they did not have a police license for the firearm they used and were also charged with using said firearm in a public place.

It was revealed that Scicluna was a recidivist and had been previously granted conditional liberty for a previous crime.

Presiding magistrate Josette Demicoli said, “You’re accused of murder and the attempted murder of three other people, two in April and one in February, and you’re charged also with the possession of an irregular firearm, shooting the firearm in a public place. These are accusations that carry the possibility of life in prison.”

The defense did not ask for the possibility of release and were thus kept under arrest. 

Inspector Keith Arnaud prosecuted.

Josette Demicoli was the presiding magistrate.

Gianella DeMarco was defence counsel for Francesco Fenech.

Lorin Scicluna’s defence counsel consisted of Julia Farrugia and Kris Busietta.

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