The Malta Independent 5 December 2023, Tuesday
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Five in court after Syrian refugees found hidden inside vehicle on Sicily catamaran

Saturday, 17 October 2015, 14:45 Last update: about 9 years ago

A 22-year-old Syrian and a 21-year-old Maltese man from Zabbar were handed a suspended sentence today after admitting to hiding three Syrian refugees in a van aboard the Sicily catamaran.

Rennie Fava, from Zabbar, was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended for four years and fined €6,000. Mr Fava was the person driving the van.

Malek Hasan, from Cospicua, was given a two year jail term suspended for four years and fined €3,000. Mr Hasan is the owner of the vehicle.

In the meantime the three refugees were also charged with entering Malta illegally. They admitted to the charges and told the court they had no money to pay for a ticket.

They were handed a one-year jail term, suspended for four years. The court also ordered their deportation to Italy.

Police Inspector Frankie Sammut, prosecuting, told the court there was no evidence of human trafficking as no evidence had been found that the refugees paid for the trip to Malta. Their intention was to come to Malta to find a job.

The court heard how Mr Hasan had made the arrangements by phone the day before the migrants were found hidden in the vehicle. Mr Fava, who is an acquaintance of Mr Hasan, was asked to go to Sicily and leave the car unlocked while having a break in Pozzallo. The refugees then climbed into the back of the RAV 4 and hid behind mineral water packets.

The court warned the refugees that they would be jailed if they attempted to enter Malta illegally again.

Lawyer George Anton Buttigieg appeared for Mr Hasan and Mr Fava while Dr Simon Micallef Stafrace was legal aid lawyer for the refugees.


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