A 42-year-old man was arraigned before the Gozo courts on Wednesday, accused of the murder of an Egyptian man who was shot twice in January 2018.

Aleksandr Stojanovic, a Serbian national who lives in Safi, pleaded not guilty to having murdered father-of-two Walid Salah Abdel Motaleb Mohammed, who was found dead in a remote field in Għarb, Gozo, on January 22, 2018.

The police said investigators had established that the accused was with the victim just hours before.

The victim was found lying on the ground with two shotgun wounds, one on the left side of the neck and the other in the centre of his chest. 

The murder weapon has not yet been located. 

Police Superintendent Keith Arnaud told the court that police investigations  reached a breakthrough earlier this month when the accused was arrested. He was granted police bail three times. 

Arnaud explained that the police had identified two important witnesses in the past weeks who corroborated CCTV footage from cameras in Ghasri and other CCTV cameras spread around Gozo, including those at the ferry terminal in Mgarr. 

The police also managed to trace the car believed to have been used in the murder and questioned the new owners of the vehicle. 

The court heard a request by the prosecution for the accused's assets to be frozen. 

Defence lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb objected, saying that none of the charges had alleged any financial gain. 

Magistrate Simone Grech, however, upheld the request and ordered the accused's assets be frozen, allowing him only the statutory €14,000 a year to cover living expenses.

No request for bail was made and the man was remanded in custody.

Lawyer Etienne Savona from the Attorney General's office prosecuted while lawyer Maria Francesca Spiteri, also from AG's office, assisted along with Arnaud and police inspector Bernard Charles Spiteri. 

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi appeared parte civile for the victim's family. 

Mohammed was married to a Gozitan but the couple was separated.

The victim, who worked as a plasterer, had a pending court case over drug possession and trafficking.

He had spent time behind bars after being found guilty of threatening to throw acid at his partner’s face if she allowed his daughters to attend religion classes at school.

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