AFM risks being charged with aiding illegal migration, as Italy investigates – report

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

AFM officers are risking being charged with aiding illegal migration, after Malta refused to rescue a group of asylum seekers adrift in Maltese waters and instead pointed them to Italy, The Guardian reported on Friday. A police investigation into the incident is underway, while the Italian prosecutor’s office may open a file against Malta in the coming days.

The Italian government has confirmed that the Armed Forces of Malta turned away a rubber dinghy carrying 101 asylum seekers from Maltese waters. The asylum seekers were given fuel and GPS coordinates to reach Italy.

The Italian government has condemned Malta for not upholding its international obligations on search and rescue at sea.

The news comes after two weeks after the English newspaper, The Guardian published a joint investigation with the Italian newspaper L’Avvenire. The publication carried accounts of the asylum seekers who were on board the rubber dinghy and video footage of an Armed Forces of Malta vessel which refused to rescue the people at sea.

The Guardian reported that it has reached out to the Maltese government and the Armed Forces of Malta for their comments.