On 28 March 2019, Abdalla, Amara, and Kader, known as the El Hiblu 3, first set foot in Malta. They could have never imagined that, four years on, they would still be stuck in legal limbo. The nine preliminary charges against them, including hijacking a vessel, threatening its crew, and engaging in terrorist activities, still hang over them, preventing them from living dignified lives in freedom.
In the days prior to their arrival in Malta, the El Hiblu 3 had helped to defuse a volatile situation at sea. Together with over 100 other people, who tried to escape from the harrowing anti-migrant violence in Libya, they were rescued by the crew of an oil tanker, the El Hiblu 1. When the captain attempted to return the rescued people to Libya, Abdalla, Amara, and Kader acted as translators and mediators between scared passengers and a scared crew.
Over two years into pre-trial proceedings, critical testimonies from fellow passengers confirmed what the three have explained from the very beginning: Abdalla, Amara, and Kader have not committed any crimes! In fact, they prevented a pushback to Libya which would have violated international law and refugee rights and exposed the returned to extreme forms of violent abuse.
Around the 28 March 2023, the fourth anniversary of their arrest in Malta, the ‘Free the El Hiblu 3’ Campaign will organise a number of events in Malta to celebrate the El Hiblu 3. Once again, we will call on the Maltese authorities to finally drop the charges against them.
Drop the charges!
End the trial!
Free the El Hiblu 3!