The two soldiers accused with the murder of Lassine Cisse Souleymane from Ivory Coast did not work in the same section and neither of them worked with migrants.
This was declared in a statement issued by the Armed Forces of Malta with reference to Lorin Scicluna and Franceso Fenech who were yesterday immediately suspended from the army as they were arraigned in Court. It was also pointed out that the two had a clean record when they joined AFM a year and a half ago, and since then they also kept a clean record of military discipline.
Regarding the case that one of the accused had in Court, the army said that this was decided after he was for a short time already in the Army, was not considered a grave case that merited dismissal, even after it was considered that he was still a minor when he committed the crime.
Regarding allegations of discriminatory treatment between soldiers, AFM said that this is not true however it will not enter into the merit of pending Court cases.
AFM requested the President of Malta for the immediate suspension of the soldiers
The Armed Forces stated that in a pending case, the presumption of innocence has to be observed. It added that normally a particular procedure is carried out in cases considered as serious, where a board of officers is appointed to evaluate the case and to recommend the necessary action. When the sentence is delivered, AFM will again evaluate the case and decide whether to keep the soldiers in the force.
It added that due to the seriousness of this particular case, AFM did not follow the usual practice, and through the Interior and National Security Minister, the AFM Commander requested an order from the President of Malta so that the accused are suspended from service with immediate effect, according to the Armed Forces of Malta Act.
At the same time, the AFM Commander also launched an internal inquiry which, among others, will investigate if this was an isolated case by two individuals or whether there were other groups, or concern of a xenophobic nature in the AFM. The appointed board in this inquiry is composed of high officers within AFM.
AFM offers condolences to the victim’s relatives and to all migrants in Malta
While expressing its sorrow for the murder of Souleymane and offering its condolences to the victim’s relatives and all migrants in Malta, AFM stated that every discriminatory behaviour is to be condemned, especially when carried out by its members.
AFM said that it was shocked by the case because its members work night and day to rescue lives, and not to terminate them. Therefore, the alleged crime by the two soldiers does not reflect the ethos and values of AFM members.
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