A group of migrants who caused thousands of euro worth of damage during a riot at the Ħal Far detention centre have admitted their involvement in the violent incident and all handed suspended sentences. 

The 18 migrants from Mali, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Sudan, Guinea and Gambia admitted to causing the damage when they rioted on Wednesday. 

The riot broke out when the migrants began demanding their immediate release from the detention centre. 

In his submissions on punishment, legal aid defence counsel, lawyer Martin Fenech said that the accused had participated in a protest, and not a riot, however, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech was quick to point out that demonstrations do not usually involve violence or damage to public property. 

The magistrate handed down suspended sentences for the different migrants, depending on the charges they had pleaded guilty to and the amount of damage they had caused during the disturbance. 

These ranged from one-year imprisonment, suspended for three years, up to 22 months imprisonment, suspended for four years.

Superintendent Josric Mifsud and Inspector Doriette Cuschieri prosecuted.

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