Malta Dismisses Speculation over Libyan National’s Extradition


On Monday, Maltese authorities announced that Libyan refugee, Mohamed Ali Ahmed Al-Misrati known on social media as ‘Lilu King’, will not be extradited to Libya. This is despite rumours swirling within the North African community that he would be, following a new government deal.

These rumours gained momentum following a high-level meeting in Rome, featuring world leaders including the Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela. This meeting focused on building economic partnerships between Europe and Africa, to address the migration crisis.

However, following the meeting, Libyan journalists began reporting the Lilu King had made his way into negotiations.

“In a dangerous precedent that violates the Geneva Refugee Law, an agreement was made today between the Maltese and Libyan Prime Ministers, during their meeting in Rome to extradite the Libyan refugee, Mohammed Al-Misrati (also known as Lilu), to Tripoli in the near future,” said one media report.

However, informed sources told Lovin Malta this was far from the truth, with the Maltese position clear: “extradition cannot be granted to Libyan authorities by the Maltese government, but only by the Maltese courts.”

Lilu’s legal team had previously spoken out about their fears for their client, if he was to be extradited back to Libya.

They said that he would likely face torture, or even death in Libya. Interpol had revealed that Libya has requested his extradition, citing serious charges such as murder and drug trafficking.

Al-Misrati’s previous track record of violating bail conditions on two separate occasions played a key role in the court’s decision. The judge also noted that he is alleged to have influenced a witness’s testimony. These factors, coupled with the real risk of fleeing, led to the court denying the bail application.

The court further noted that his refugee protection had been temporarily withdrawn, suggesting he could not be allowed to freely integrate into society due to these reasons.

The bail proceedings saw increasing tension over three hours, culminating with Franco Debono, Al-Misrati’s defence lawyer, accusing the magistrate of prejudiced conduct against his client.

Libyan authorities have asked Malta to detain Al-Misrati, and have him extradited to Libya to face charges there, a witness explained.

Despite his allegedly shady past, Al-Misrati was in Malta as a refugee, having been granted status in 2015.

He was arrested during a drug raid in St Julian’s in May, along with two others. Police subsequently charged him with money laundering, tax evasion, and participating in organized crime.

During cross-examination, Debono questioned the reliability of Libyan institutions, given the civil war in the country. The witness said that the official documents had been issued by Interpol Tripoli, which was on an equal footing as Interpol Floriana.

“He escaped from Libya because he was persecuted, and the state granted him refugee status,” stressed Debono, asking whether the Tripoli authorities had sent “at least one sheet of supporting evidence.”