A 16-year-old female minor has been handed a suspended sentence this morning after being charged with using a fake passport to flee persecution from her home country and enter Malta.
The court has ordered her name and country of origin not to be published on account of how sensitive the situation is.
Her family aided her in fleeing her home country after members of the prayer group she formed part of had ‘disappeared’ – and she now fears persecution herself.
She was arrested at Malta’s airport after presenting a Danish passport that had been reported as stolen. Upon landing, she wasn’t even aware that she was in Malta and asked authorities where she was.
Prosecutor Frankie Sammut called this a ‘genuine case’ and lamented the girl’s vulnerability. Defence lawyer Benjamin Valenzia also called this a ‘delicate case’. He added that the girl will be applying for asylum on the grounds of persecution shortly.
Valenzia said that she is currently being held at a secure facility and hoped that she could be reunited with her family members in mainland Europe.
The girl appeared scared and shocked in Court.
Magistrate Josette Demicoli explained through an interpreter that she is in safe hands and that she has no reason to be fearful. The respective authorities will be looking out for her wellbeing.
The court went along to make sure the girl understood the situation and the charges being pressed against her. The vulnerable situation, the girl’s age, and other sensitive details of the case will all be considered when handing down the sentence.
The defence and prosecution both agreed that an effective prison sentence was not necessary in this case. The court also observed that she would be applying for asylum. She was found guilty on her own admission and was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for a further eight months.
This case is reminiscent of a similar instance of two Turkish mothers who forged documentation in order not to be repatriated back to Turkey, as they attempted to flee Erdogan’s regime, as well as an Ivory Coast mother who is currently imprisoned with her baby.
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