The Malta Independent 14 October 2019, Monday

Man accused of assaulting police officers shouted ‘Allah hu akbar’, court hears

Friday, 21 December 2018, 12:49 Last update: about 11 months ago

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, stands charged with attacking the 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, after he lunged at police officers, shouting “Allah hu akbar.”

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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 needed 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 jJust as one officer went over to try and see what was needed, the man stood up, aggressively shouting “Allahuakbar” and had 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 Rajij was handcuffed and taken to the police station. The arresting officers were both slightly injured with scratches and bitemarks 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.

Although the accused didn’t appear to be in his right mind and had vomited in the detention room, after which he was taken to hospital for medical examination and care, doctors could not conclude what was wrong with him, the court was told.

Inspector 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.”

The case was adjourned to January.

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

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