Malta acquits Libyan national from chrages of arms smuggling

A Maltese court has cleared charges against Libyan and Maltese suspects and who were held for alleged selling of ammunition to Libya back in 2013, in breach of UN sanctions.

When delivering judgment, the court, presided over by magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, said the two were acquitted after the court concluded the more serious charges had been based on “speculations”.

“The common design, essential in proving the crime of complicity, had not been proven, said the court, pointing out that the mere fact that Mr Yaacob had collected ammunition from an arms shop was no proof of a common plan. Nor did the circumstantial evidence prove that the co-accused had conspired with third parties, the court said, observing that the third man mentioned throughout the proceedings had remained a “fictitious figure” since the prosecution had brought no “tangible evidence” in that direction.” The court said, reported Malta Today.

Whilst clearing both accused of the more serious charges in the case that lasted six years, the court fined Mr Azzopardi €3500 for failing to list the ammunition on his arms register and for consigning it to Mr Yaacob, a non-licensed customer, who, in turn was handed a one-year jail term suspended for 2 years.

Michael Azzopardi and Feraj Issa Ali Yaacob had been charged with breaching weapons laws and conspiring to sell live ammunition, consisting of over 23,000 bullets, to the Libyan Jamahiriya via a third party who allegedly negotiated the deal with the Maltese dealer.

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