MaltaToday | 18 May 2008 | No comment from Rizzo over who guarded Nicholas Azzopardi

NEWS | Sunday, 18 May 2008

No comment from Rizzo over who guarded Nicholas Azzopardi

Matthew Vella

Details over who had been entrusted with the security of Nicholas Azzopardi, who was recovered at Mater Dei’s intensive therapy unit after suffering an alleged beating at the hands of police investigators, remain under wraps after Commissioner of Police John Rizzo said he would not comment on the ongoing inquiries into the case.
Azzopardi died 13 days after being found in a ditch beneath the Police headquarter in Floriana. While the police claim Azzopardi fled his security escort and jumped from a window, the victim himself said on his deathbed that he had been violently beaten up by his two interrogators. Azzopardi later died after being transferred from the ITU, having shown signs of recovery.
“In view of the ongoing magisterial inquiry and a parallel inquiry by Judge Albert Manchè, as well as the fact that the police officers concerned are witnesses in the same inquiries, it is not prudent at the moment to comment on the Nicholas Azzopardi case,” a spokesperson for Rizzo said.
MaltaToday asked Rizzo whether any sort of police security was present throughout Azzopardi’s sojourn in Mater Dei and on the night of his death on 22 April.
Azzopardi was interviewed by Magistrate Antonio Vella in time to give his version of events, but after MaltaToday broke the story of his death, the government also launched an independent inquiry into the proceedings of the police investigation.
The family of Azzopardi are still in the dark as to whether Nicholas Azzopardi succumbed to his injuries after having been discharged from the ITU, or whether he was not administered the drugs to prevent a thrombosis attack while recovering.


12 days on, police issue statement

Yet another police contradiction that is of direct bearing on the Nicholas Azzopardi death case: The police yesterday issued a press release about the British national who got seriously injured on 5 May on board a yacht in the Marsamxett harbour. The man was reported to have died Friday night at Mater Dei – 12 days since he entered hospital.
In contrast, the police issued no followup press release when Nicholas Azzopardi died in hospital 13 days after his arrest and serious injuries while under police custody.

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