He was enlisted while proceedings were ongoing – AFM

The Armed Forces of Malta has said that a separate case against one of the accused involved in the murder of a man from Ivory Coast, had been decided some time after their enlistment with the AFM.

In a statement, the AFM explained that Lorin Scicluna had been already been a member of AFM when a case had been brought against him. They add that, ‘the case was not considered of a sufficiently serious nature which merited discharge from the service as a matter of fact, the court had awarded him a conditional discharge, having taken also into account that he was a minor when he committed the offence.’

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Separately on Sunday, Newsbook.com.mt sent questions to AFM questioning which divisions the two soldiers who are charged with the murder of Lassana Souleymane Cisse, were stationed at. Referring Newsbook.com.mt to their statement, they explained that they had both joined the service around a year and a half prior had, ‘been working in separate sections,’ without specifying which. They do however say that these had, ‘no connection or work directly related to immigrants.’

Newsbook.com.mt also asked how many AFM officers have been recruited to the services which did not have a clean record. The response was that it was a requirement that recruits had a clean record.

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The latest statement also expresses sorrow and sadness over the behaviour, adding that, ‘AFM condemns unreservedly any and all discriminatory conduct, including that based on racial or ethnic considerations. Such actions are particularly condemned, even more so, when these are attributed to members of the Force. The AFM takes the opportunity to extend its condolences to the family of the victim, as well as to the whole community of immigrants in Malta.’

When were they suspended?

The AFM spokesperson on Sunday told Newsbook.com.mt that when then newsroom had contacted them (14.58), both of the accused had not been suspended because of the internal investigation was underway within AFM to establish if they were acting alone or were part of an organisation. It was also on Sunday that Labour Party news outlet ‘ONE,’ reported, citing sources that they had in fact been immediately suspended. Newsbook.com.mt once again made contact with AFM to clarify if there had been a development in this aspect of the case. The spokesperson said that a statement would be issued on Monday.

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Duly, on Monday the Minister of the Interior Michael Farrugia told the media that the two defendants were immediately suspended. For its part, the AFM said Monday afternoon, that two individuals, were suspended, ‘immediately upon their arraignment in Court.’ They stress that both men had a, ‘clean military discipline record,’ while serving with AFM.

According to the Armed Forces of Malta, in the case of the two accused soldiers charged with murdering Cisse, among other charges, the Commander of the AFM took immediate steps to obtain an order of the President through the Minister of Interior to suspend the accused with ‘immediate effect.’ They add that an internal investigation has been launched.