Inhumane treatment claims dismissed by Constitutional Court

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A Dutch woman who claimed she was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by the police, had her case dismissed by the Constitutional court. The case dates to 18 November 2015, when the woman was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Jennifer Koster had arrived in Malta from the Netherlands on a flight en route from Germany.

Plain clothes police arrested her at the Imrieħel Industrial zone together with her boyfriend Carmel Zammit who was suspected of trafficking drugs.

Koster, who was released from arrest after 16 hours, claimed that her rights were breached since nobody read her rights upon her arrest. Moreover, she was taken to Mater Dei hospital where she was subjected to body searches which she considered to be humiliating.

The woman at Mater Dei, was X-rayed and as the result was not clear, she was administered a laxative. Koster was then asked to search through her own faeces for the suspected substance, still no drugs were found.

The court, presided by Mr. Justice Joseph R. Micallef, said that the police had good enough reasons to keep the applicant under arrest as there were reasonable suspicions of drug trafficking.  

The police had correctly first obtained an arrest and a search warrant from the duty magistrate before arresting her, said the Court.

Even though at some points in the investigation, the woman may have felt embarrassed, the judge declared that Koster right’s against arbitrary or illegal arrest had not been breached. The Court also ruled that the Commissioner of Police had not subjected her to inhuman or degrading treatment.

The case was dismissed.