VALLETTA, Malta (AP) – Two Maltese soldiers have pleaded not guilty to charges they participated in a racially-motivated, fatal drive-by shooting of a migrant from Ivory Coast.
The two men, Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech, were also charged Sunday with the April 6 attempted murder of two other men from Guinea and Gambia, who were seriously injured in the attack. The death of Ivorian Lassana Cisse is believed to be Malta’s first racially-motivated slaying amid Europe’s current debate over migration.
The charges, which include racial hatred and committing a racially motivated crime, carry a maximum of life in prison.
Migration is a key political issue for the Mediterranean island nation, particularly ahead of European Parliament elections this week.