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Migrant's death in van - Officer said he may have died 'of fright'

Victim Mamdou Kamara.

Victim Mamdou Kamara.

A Detention Service officer told a court today how he had received a call from a colleague, telling him that a migrant they were escorting had died in their van, possibly because of ‘fright’.

The court was continuing the compilation of evidence against soldiers Clive Cuschieri and Mark Anthony Dimech who stand accused of the murder of Malian migrant Mamdou Kamara after he was beaten in a Detenetion Service van in June.

Taking the witness stand, Marie Therese Camilleri Podesta and Ali Safraz, pathologists, said that they carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr  Kamara and established that the cause of death was due to vasovagel inhibition due to severe pain following blunt trauma.

Marcel Schembri, a medical doctor  at the Floriana health centre, said that on June 29 at about 2 p.m. the victim went to the health centre. He could remember that there was a commotion when the victim arrived because he did not want to stay in the queue. He was accompanied by soldiers of the detention centre. It was around 2pm.

AFM Sergeant Raymond Casha said that later that afternoon Clive Cuschieri turned up at Safi detention centre together with another officer and the victim, which they had brought from the health centre.

The migrant was handed a bag with essentials, such as a towel, and he was taken to a lower block. Kamara was singing Bob Marley songs at the time and he insisted he was going home, He had escaped from the detention centre four years previously.He appeared normal but refused food.

On being questioned by lawyer Giannella de Marco, the witness said he could not remember that he phoned accused Mark Anthony Dimech. He could not remember telling him that  the victim was causing trouble.  He denied calling Dimech three times.

Taking the witness stand, Bombadier Robert Brincat an officer at Safi Barracks on the day in question, said the victim had been annoying the other immigrants.

At round 9 p.m. he  received a message from Gordon Pickard telling him to get officers ready to take the victim to Hal Far Barracks.

He saw the accused leaving in the van.

Some minutes later he received a call from Gordon Pickard that the migrant had escaped and he was looking for him.

Later, Pickard told him that the migrant was being aggressive. He asked  for handcuffs.

Some time later, Gordon Pickard called again and said that the immigrant had died. He had asked him how, and the reply: "I don't know I think with fright".

Lawyers Franco Debono and Rachael Tua appeared for Mr Cuschieri.

The case continues.

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