Two asylum seekers planning to cross over to Italy as stowaways landed behind bars instead after being caught hidden inside a container destined for shipment. 

Sudanese nationals Mohamed Ishaq Adam Yakub, 27, and Osman Ibrahim Mehamed, 22, were arrested on Wednesday afternoon after they were found hidden inside the shipping container at Laboratory Wharf, Paola. 

They did not have any personal documents but told the police that their hope was to make it to Italy. 

On Thursday, assisted by an interpreter and a legal aid lawyer, the two self-confessed stowaways pleaded guilty to attempting to travel out of Malta unlawfully and failing to provide the necessary information to immigration authorities. 

Yakub was further charged with relapsing. 

In light of the men’s early guilty plea and after hearing submissions by both parties, the court, presided over by magistrate Gabriella Vella, condemned Mehamed to a six-month effective jail term. 

Yakub, who was also found guilty of relapsing, was handed a nine-month term of imprisonment.

Inspector Karl Roberts prosecuted.  Lawyer Benjamin Valenzia was defence counsel. 

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