The Malta Independent 21 May 2024, Tuesday
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Indictment of El Hiblu 3 ‘the worst possible decision’ – Amnesty International

Thursday, 30 November 2023, 14:15 Last update: about 7 months ago

The Attorney General has taken more than four-and-a-half years to make the worst possible decision, Amnesty International’s Regional Researcher said Thursday. 

“It is a travesty of justice that these young men, who acted as mediators between the crew and a group of panicked asylum-seekers, will now face trial and possible life imprisonment.”

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Amnesty was reacting to the news that the Attorney General of Malta has issued a Bill of Indictment against Abdalla, Amara, and Kader, also known as the El Hiblu 3, the EH3 coalition said.  

The three, aged 15, 16 and 19 at the time of the incident in March 2019, were alleged to have hijacked the ship that rescued them at sea after fearing that they were being taken back to Libya.

Lawyer Cedric Mifsud, who is one of the advocates appearing on behalf of the El Hiblu 3, told The Malta Independent that the defence lawyers have already filed their submissions contesting the bill of indictment.

In its statement, Amnesty said that “the indictment fails to recognize that they were part of a group of more than 100 asylum-seekers faced with an illegal pushback to Libya which would have put their lives at risk. Yet, they are the ones who might now need to defend themselves against charges ranging from ‘acts of terrorism’ to ‘violence’. 

“The inquiry that has led to the indictment has been marred by serious procedural irregularities, including the detention of the then children in adult facilities, their prosecution in adult courts, and the failure to call key witnesses to testify. 

“The case against the El Hiblu 3 should never have been brought, but there is still time for the Maltese authorities to drop the charges and to spare these young men further injustice.” 

 

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