News | Sunday, 14 June 2009
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Anti-racist protest remember Suleiman

Death of Sudanese raises questions about bouncers’ training

Silence from the major political parties marked the death of Suleiman Abubaker, the Sudanese immigrant who died on Tuesday of head injuries he sustained in an attack by a bouncer outside Footloose bar, in Paceville on 29 May, as politicians refrained from making any statements on the incident.
Abubaker, an immigrant with temporary humanitarian status, is believed to have died after being hit by bouncer Duncan Deguara. Deguara was re-arraigned Friday and charged with grievously injuring Abubaker.
The reaction to the grave incident was marked by a protest march in Paceville organised by Graffitti, which was attended by the GWU, AD, the Labour youth forum and other development NGOs.
Questions abound on the assault which led to Abubaker’s death, after the Sudanese was allegedly refused entry into the Paceville bar and attacked by the bouncer. Other sources claim Abubaker was drunk at the time of the attack.
Abubaker himself had been the victim of another similar incident, back in July, when he was involved in an altercation with bouncers, and then allegedly suffered police harassment.
Speaking to MaltaToday, Footloose owner Teddy Calleja said he could not be held responsible for what happened, saying that bouncer Duncan Deguara was not in his direct employ.
“We subcontract our security services. They could have sent anyone else. Duncan is sometimes sent by his employer to work at Havana or Burger King, or anywhere else his employer deems fit,” Calleja said.
Paceville establishments are generally free to employ anyone to man their doors, although particular clubs prefer to subcontract their security arrangements to firms.
Whether or not the firms only employ people who are licensed security officers, is another matter altogether.
Calleja denied any allegations of racial discrimination at his establishment. “The security company at times sends a black person to stay at the door. Do you think they would send a black person if no black people were allowed to enter my club? I also employ black bartenders and I also host a black DJ from time to time.”
Calleja also noted that violence did not seem to be Deguara’s style. “Although he hadn’t been coming for a long time, I always saw Duncan being polite and well-behaved with people. It would have been in my interest to ask my suppliers not to send him anymore had I noticed any misbehaviour on his part.”
It is standard practice for security firms to see that bouncers are properly licensed. The license is obtained upon completion of a basic three-day course. But the law does not clearly lay down an obligation for bouncers to be licensed.
Calleja said he does not know whether Deguara was in fact a licensed security guard, and said he did not take an interest in whether they are licensed.
“If I order a bedroom I won’t ask the furniture company delivering it wether their driver has a license,” Calleja said.
He even added that the media was “destroying (Deguara’s) life… for the sake of a story,” referring to the alleged racial motive behind the assault.
Raymond Axisa, who owns the security firm which employed Duncan Deguara, said he was not in a position to comment at this stage. “I do not want to jeopardise police investigations, especially now that new evidence may show that it was another person who caused the fatal injuries.”
The police are in fact investigating footage of a CCTV recording to acquire details pertaining to this new development.
Axisa was asked whether Deguara was in possession of a security licence, but he said: “I will not comment on this either, you can ask him (Deguara), not me.”
Asked whether he ever employed personnel without a security license, Axisa said: “I will not comment on this either.”

Justice and Home Affairs Minister
A spokesperson for Justice Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said that since court proceedings are currently underway the Minister will not yet be issuing an official statement on this issue.
“However, the Minister expresses his concern over the seeming emergence of xenophobic sentiments within our country. There is little doubt that the false sense of emergency that has been instilled, as well as the use of jargon such as ‘quotas’ or that the European Union should take all illegal immigrants cannot be said not to have contributed to fuel these sentiments.”

PL spokesperson, home affairs and immigration
“Every crime or alleged crime for that matter, committed in any society raises the concern of the citizens of that society. The alleged murder in question is no exception, and yes it does raise my concern, both as a politician, as well as an ordinary law-abiding citizen. Both personally, and as PL, we strongly condemn any crime in general. Similarly, we also strongly condemn any form of racism. One must keep in mind that the case is still under Police investigation, and it would be highly unethical to make any sweeping statements or declarations thereon at this stage of the investigations. May I just point out once again, that in any case where there will result any element of racism, the Labour Party will strongly condemn same.”



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