Will the accused in the other four pending prosecution cases for criminal defamation please get in touch?

Published: February 15, 2017 at 4:53pm

There are just 10 ongoing prosecutions for criminal defamation. But the government has written a special exception into the bill for the repeal of the criminal defamation law, saying that those prosecutions must continue even when the law no longer exists.

A special exemption of this nature is shocking enough as it, but worse still when you realise that it is for just 10 cases. All becomes clear, however, when you know who the accused are in those cases, and then suddenly the government’s special exemption is yet more ghastly abuse of power against those who oppose it.

The police vs Daphne Caruana Galizia – 3 prosecution cases
The police vs Austin Gatt – 2 prosecution cases
The police vs Paul Borg Olivier – 1 prosecution case

That’s 6 of 10, and we all have the same lawyer, Joe Zammit Maempel. I’m currently trying to identify the accused in the other 4 cases. If you are one of them, or you know who is, please post a comment here or contact me by email.

The last thing we need now is for the Opposition to get tangled up in arguments about the legality of the clause, citing judgements on the Interpretation Act from the year dot when Maltese citizens did not have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights, to try to work out whether the clause is legal or not.

Before the number of pending prosecutions and the identity of the prosecuted were known, this was just about the legality of the clause. Now that the number of pending cases is known to be so insignificant, but the accused considered by the government to be significant enemies, things are somewhat different.

This is no longer about legality. This is about gross abuse of government power to target its real and perceived enemies and critics.

And to make matters worse, at least two of those prosecutions have been at the request of two cabinet ministers – Konrad Mizzi and Manuel Mallia. We are now at the absurdly offensive stage where two members of the government are going to vote for the repeal of the criminal defamation law with an exception for the ongoing cases in which they themselves have a direct interest. Shockingly abusive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The members of the Maltese government, and those who support it, believe that all this is happening in a hermetically sealed bubble that does not extend beyond the island. They are made to do so. Waves of corruption and abuse of power are being transmitted way beyond these shores with massively damaging consequences.

Can you imagine this happening in any other European Union member state: a government voting to repeal a law except where its own members have a personal direct interest against Opposition politicians and critical journalists?

Think harder about what’s going on, before we end up in an even worse mess than we are in already.

Really bad people.