Manuel Delia files judicial protest to gain access to detention centres

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Journalist and activist Manuel Delia has filed a judicial protest in a bid to gain access to detention centres and the Corradino Correctional Facility.

In his protest, Delia said that as a journalist, he sought to look into allegations of mistreatment of asylum seekers held in detention centres, as well as those who had been arrested following riots which took place at Ħal Far.

He made five requests last November to former Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia and an additional four to his successor Byron Camilleri this month, and asked to contact various entities as a result. However, he was told that access to detention centres was only granted to lawyers, NGOs and agencies, while no reply was forthcoming regarding access to the prison.

Delia is arguing that the refusal to grant access is a breach of his freedom of expression, stating that journalists had the right to follow up reports on matters of clear public interest. He also insisted that the delays in replying to such requests were creating a chilling effect, as it sought to dissuade journalists from doing their duty.

The protest, which was filed against Camilleri, the Home Affairs Ministry’s permanent secretary, the prison director, the head of detention services and the principal officer, was signed by lawyer Paul Borg Olivier.