Eritreans Take Ethiopian Human Trafficker to Court for Taking them to Malta Instead of Italy

Human Trafficking Trial: Witnesses Paid Thousands of Dollars to the Accused to Go to Italy | January 10, 2017


Eritreans Take Ethiopian Human Trafficker to Court for Taking them to Malta Instead of Italy


An Eritrean migrant told a court this morning how he had paid $700 dollars to a man who stands charged with human trafficking to be taken to Italy.


The sworn testimony of Mebrahatom Braki Sahle was read out this morning in the trial by jury of Ethiopian Hadish Abayu, 58, who is believed to be the mastermind behind a human trafficking trip from North Africa. The trial, which started yesterday, is being presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima. Mr Abayu stands charged with organizing the boat trip which brought some 181 illegal immigrants to Maltese shores back in September 2005.


The witness had claimed that he had paid $700 to the accused and $300 to another man. The intention was to go to Italy. There were some 180 people aboard the boat. The accused was also collecting money from other passengers.


The witness said he had first met the accused in Libya. “He told me to pay him and leave. I wanted to go to Italy and I paid Hadish in cash.”


Mr Sahle said other men – Libyans – were involved in the organization of the trip.


Jurors also heard the statement given by Eritrean Wildeberem Talizgi, who said he and his brother had given Hadish $2,400. His brother was told that, because the boat was full, he would have to stay in Libya until another trip was organized.


Yosef Zoru, another of the 180 passengers, said he had paid $1,000 directly to Hadish. The plan was to go to Italy but, because of the difficult situation they found themselves in, the boat ended up in Malta.


The prosecution informed the court this morning that is has exhausted all of its testmony and the defence will now take over.


Lawyer Vincienne Vella from the Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting. Lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace is appearing for the accused.