Lassane accused were ‘Labour fans’ – Dr Fenech Adami

Luke Zerafa

The Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami said that the two soldiers charged with the murder of Ivorian immigrant Lassana Cisse Souleymane got to know eachother ‘because they are both big fans of the Labour Party.’ Adami added that they were also members of a group called ‘Laburist sal-Mewt’ – ‘Labour to Death.’

Dr Fenech Adami made these comments in response to a statement made by the Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia.

In Parliament, the MP said that the Nationalist Party demands that the government take political responsibility for the situation and to carry out an independent inquiry into how the two charged with murder, ended up in the army.

He added that it despite the Minister’s statements that the selection process had improved, it had failed to spot the perpetrators.

‘The Army has been broken by this government and despite changing the criteria of recruitment, the new system has failed because it allowed two young people in the army to feel that it’s easy to go out and shoot indiscriminately at black people,’ Fenech Adami said.

Internal Inquiry

Minister Farrugia explained that the Armed Forces had appointed a board to carry out an internal inquiry to establish whether there were elements within the AFM that were promoting racist culture despite training which is aimed at promoting tolerance of different races.

The Minister also said that he regretted and was disappointed that members of the armed forces had been accused of this murder. However, he stressed that this should not used to openly discredit other members of the Armed Forces who risk their lives in the performance of their duties.

He said that the administration has improved the scrutiny process for new recruits, with new recruits having to declare that they have no pending criminal cases.

Crying foul

The PN MP also accused the government of being hypocritical on the issue of immigration. He stated that during the Gonzi administration, the government had accepted asylum seekers to come to Malta despite it being unpopular. Fenech Adami pointed specifically to the Prime Minister’s decision in 2013 to try and push back migrants.

Referring back to the charged individuals, Fenech Adami explained that he believed they would’ve been applauding the Prime Minister’s address on this in 2009.

No one assuming responsibility – Busuttil

Former PN leader Simon Busuttil also intervened in the discussion saying that it was concerning that no one has thought to assume political responsibility for the situation, not even the Chief of the Armed Forces.

Questioning Minister Farrugia he said, ‘If you are not going to bear responsibility, who will? The Prime Minister? Is there someone in this country who will bear responsibility?’

Busuttil also asked Minister Farrugia about the condition of the two injured migrants who survived the incident and if they were receiving any help.

Did one of them commit a sexual offence? – Karol Aquilina

Karol Aquilina asked the Minister say whether he could confirm if one of the accused had previously committed a crime, ‘of a sexual nature,’ and if it had required the involvement of Interpol.

The Minister responded saying that the accused was still a minor at the time and he would need to check with the court to find out if they are actually permitted to name the person in conjunction with the case.

Minister Farrugia added that the two accused had had clean records before joining the army and that Scicluna’s case was concluded prior to him entering service.

Instead, he stressed the importance of the presumption of innocence until the evidence showed otherwise. If so, the crime would be punished.