A man who is believed to be the mastermind behind a boat trip trafficking people from North Africa to Malta more than 11 years ago, is facing a trial by jury which began today.
The accused is Ethiopian national Hadish Abayu, 58-year-old who stands charged with organizing the boat trip which brought some 181 illegal immigrants to Maltese shores back in September 2005.
The man conspired to organize the clandestine trip from Libya to Malta with the aim of making money out of somebody else's attempt at a new life in Europe. The trial started this morning before Madam Justice Edwina Grima. Nine jurors will decide the man's fate; seven females and two males, together with two supplementary jurors.
The prosecution started with the first address to the jury by explaining their role in the proceedings.
The accused had allegedly organized the trip for the 181 illegal immigrants in conjunction with third parties and had made a considerable profit out of the illegal passage.
The accused had visited Malta after the trip to check on the immigrant and to make sure everyone had paid for the trip.
Lawyer Vincienne Vella is prosecuting while lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace is defence counsel.