Suleiman Ismail Abubaker, an irregular migrant from Sudan had died in June 2009, after being beaten outside a club in Paceville, Malta’s night entertainment hub. Before he passed away, he was in coma for 11 days.
His story was given a lot of attention in the local media. Below I am quoting just one article related to the case:
In 2011, two years after the tragic event, a small vigil was held in Paceville by Suleiman`s friends. I went there to document the gathering with my camera.
It was rather a small crowd, of perhaps 40-50 people, standing mostly in silence holding portraits of Suleiman and listening to the speakers. They did gather some attention from passers by, but not much. Hardly anybody joined in.
However they were loudly commented and taunted by a group of local taxi drivers and club goers, who observed the gathering from the outskirts of the plaza. One of them went as far as to strip his jeans down in order to show his buttocks to the crowd.
They also taunted some of the photographers on the scene, me included. At some point I was called a “Nigger lover” (to be precise something along the lines of ‘thobb is – suwed’ was used). I had directed a camera on them and pretended to take a shot and they ran away immediately. I told a passing police officer that a person was stripping in public and that surely kept the bullies away from the plaza for the rest of the evening.
To be very honest I don’t know why I haven’t published these photos earlier. Perhaps I wanted to wait until the case of Suleiman`s death was over.
A bouncer from Paceville was charged with causing the death of Mr Abubaker, but was later cleared off all charges in March 2012, nearly three years from when the incident took place:
The acquittal of the bouncer was called a “green light for murders” by an online commentator and indeed, since then Malta learned about two other incidents resulting in the death of irregular migrants.
There was no vigil held in June 2012.
All the photos in this post were taken on June 24 2011.