Three unemployed Libyan men – one of them claiming to be a student pilot and another on the run for rape charges – have been remanded in custody after being caught red-handed committing burglary in a villa in Swieqi.
Inspectors Joseph Xerri and Leeroy Balzan Engerer arraigned 26-year-old Abdulaziz Zamzam, Mahmud Abdirizaq Ali El Markhia, 23, and Mohamed Abdulmajed Abungab, 23, all of whom are from Libya and living in Gzira, before magistrate Rachel Montebello on Tuesday afternoon. The men all claimed to be unemployed. Abungab told the court he was studying to become a pilot.
The men were charged with two counts of of theft, aggravated by violence, place and time and disobeying legitimate police orders.
Abungab was also charged with threatening a police officer, possession of a flick knife, carrying it in public without a permit, driving a car without a driving licence and relapsing.
Also facing additional charges was El Markhia who was also accused of slightly injuring a police sergeant, insulting and threatening him, driving a car without a driving licence, damaging third party property and being drunk and incapable of taking care of himself in public.
Zamzam, who is on bail for rape, was additionally accused of giving false particulars to the police, living a vagrant and idle life and breaching bail conditions.
The court was told how yesterday at around 5:30am, police had received a report of a burglary in progress at a villa in Swieqi, after a neighbour had observed the break-in from a nearby balcony and called the police.
Officers arriving at the scene had found a car with its engine running and El Markhia and Abungab inside. They tried to escape but reversed the Suzuki Swift straight into a parked car. At that point Zamzam had exited the building and was immediately arrested.
Despite giving his name as Lamari, Zamzam was later recognised as being on the run, having skipped bail on a rape charge.
El Markhia claimed to have been drunk and could not recall what was going on.
The men all pleaded not guilty and requested bail.
Magistrate Montebello, however, denied bail to the pair, citing the nature of the charges and the risk of the men tampering with evidence.
Lawyer Noel Bianco appeared on behalf of the men.