AFM did not carry out any strip-searches
An 18-year-old who last week claimed that he and his friends had been strip-searched during an army roadblock in Gozo has clarified that they were not, in fact, asked by AFM personnel to remove their clothing "all the way down to our boxer shorts".
The youth, who had spoken on condition of anonymity, made the claim to The Sunday Times last week after a vehicle in which he and his friends were travelling was stopped during a roadblock held over the carnival weekend.
The army immediately launched an internal inquiry after the claims were published, which involved identifying the vehicle and people involved in this incident. This established that nobody was asked to strip down to his boxer shorts.
The AFM said it took every allegation very seriously. The incident was investigated and it resulted that the AFM personnel involved acted professionally and in line with the law.
When confronted with this finding, the youth amended his version of events. His father, who initially stood by his son's claim, told The Sunday Times yesterday: "Although the boys in the car were thoroughly searched, it now emerges that they were not asked to remove their jeans."
He added, however, that his son stood by his other claim that soldiers placed a foot between the youths' heels during the search and that he found this experience "humiliating".
After the story was carried the AFM said strip-searches were never conducted, particularly in streets or by the wayside.