Man jailed, fined €500 for transporting illegal immigrants to Malta on his fishing boat

35-year-old fisherman had ferried 10 undocumented Bangladeshi nationals to Delimara in September 2022

File photo
File photo

A 35-year-old fisherman has been jailed for one year and fined €500 after he admitted to having transported illegal immigrants into Malta on his fishing boat.

Mohammed Ahmed Elgamal, an Egyptian national who resides in Birżebbuġa, admitted in court that he had helped a number of people to enter Malta without documents last September.

Elgamal had been charged with having, on 14 September 2022 at about 3.15 a.m, assisted migrants to enter Malta illegally. Prosecuting police inspector Karl Roberts had also charged him with fishing in Maltese waters without a licence as well as with piloting a sea craft without a licence.

During a sitting in April, Elgamal had also admitted to fishing in Maltese waters without a licence and allowing his fishing vessel, "Black Beauty," to be sailed by a person who did not hold the necessary nautical licence.

Handing down Elgamal’s sentence this morning, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech acquitted him of the fishing-related charge despite the guilty plea, observing that the facts of the case indicated that the vessel had been registered with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Malta, while this charge contemplated a situation where the fishing vessel involved is registered abroad.

In sentencing the Egyptian, Magistrate Frendo Dimech factored in Elgamal’s early admission of guilt. his cooperation with the police investigation and his willingness to give evidence after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against him.

"To win the fight against this phenomenon that exploits the misery of people forced to seek a better life, where the crime is committed in the dark of night and in a climate of absolute silence, it is essential that people who participated and or were involved in such an act, testify.”

The court declined to order the confiscation of the man’s fishing boat, saying that it was not necessary in the circumstances.

Lawyers Mario Mifsud and Nicholas Mifsud represented the defendant in the proceedings. The prosecution was led by Inspector Karl Roberts.