An Albanian man who is under arrest in Malta and is wanted by Greek authorities over a 2015 double murder and a €780,000 robbery, had his fingerprints taken in court on Tuesday to confirm his identity.
Ledjon Brakaj, 36, was arraigned as part of extradition proceedings on Saturday and lawyers had immediately cast doubts on the identity of the arrested man. They pointed out that the European Arrest Warrant showed different names. Fingerprints taken by Greek authorities to determine the identity of the wanted man had not been produced in court.
On Tuesday Inspector Kurt Ryan Farrugia, from the PoliceInternational Relations Unit, presented fingerprints which had been sent by Greek police. Those fingerprints, when analyzed by their Maltese counterparts, appeared to match, the court was informed.
However, “for the avoidance of any doubt,” Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech appointed a fingerprint expert to lift the arrested man’s fingerprints during the sitting. The expert is to conduct a comparative analysis with the copy sent by the Greek authorities.
Brakaj was allegedly involved in a robbery that ended in the murder of an elderly woman and her nephew who were violently beaten and then set on fire while still breathing, the Greek authorities say.
During Tuesday's sitting, defence lawyer Franco Debono said that the European Arrest Warrant was “one of the scarcest in detail ever seen by the court.” There was not even the slightest reference to evidence, he said.
“Mutual trust between States should imply mutual respect,” argued Debono, making reference to a judgment by the Italian Corte di Cassazione which rejected an extradition request by the Maltese authorities on the grounds that Malta could not guarantee certain safeguards.
Whilst other states appeared to interpret such extradition requests rather strictly, Malta seemed to lend a rather “wide interpretation,” said the defence lawyer.
Lawyer Marion Camilleri was also defence counsel.