Repubblika files criminal complaints against PM, AFM and Brigadier

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Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Rule of law NGO Repubblika has filed two criminal complaints before the Police Commissioner. One against Prime Minister Robert Abela and Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi and the second against P52 crew over the alleged intentional sabotage of a rubber boat carrying asylum seekers.

In a statement on Thursday, Repubblika said that the first report it filed concerned reports that crew on board patrol boat P52 allegedly stepped on to a rubber boat carrying asylum seekers who fled war torn Libya and allegedly cutting the cable of the motor leaving them adrift in the Maltese search and rescue region. The boat was some 20nm off the coast of Malta.

The allegation of intentionally sabotaging the vessel which was carrying 66 people was not denied by neither the government nor the Armed Forces of Malta.

The asylum seekers were eventually rescued and brought to Malta and have been kept in quarantine after passing through the medical screening.

In its statement Repubblika said that if these allegations are true, then the actions taken by one or more members of the crew of P52, or the whole crew itself, would amount to attempted homicide which did not lead to murder only because the situation was put to rights following different orders issued by Government.  

The NGO stated that these actions should be investigated and that Prime Minister Robert Abela and Brigadier Jeffrey Chetcuti who are the subject of the second police report should also be investigated.

“It would seem that the two persons were informed of persons in danger of death on the sea for whole days. Due to their action or inaction in time of necessity and when they had the power to act, they left tens of persons to risk their lives. Twelve persons died of thirst, or exhaustion or by drowning, as a consequence of the decisions taken by the Prime Minister and Brigadier Chetcuti,” Repubblika said.

The NGO said that it was taking action to seek justice for those who suffered unjustly and died abandoned in the sea. It added that it also wanted justice done on behalf of the AFM members who have served and have time and time again rescued lives at sea.

“It is not right that the courageous deeds of these generations of soldiers should be tainted with what, it is alleged, has occurred in the past few days.”

The NGO said that it was considering further action to ensure justice for the victims of the “illegal” and “cruel” decisions taken by the government.

These are not the only actions taken by the NGO so far after on Wednesday it filed a court action against the cabinet over its decision to declare Malta’s ports unsafe and thereby prevent the rescue of asylum seekers. Repubblika also filed an urgent request before the Strasbourg court requesting interim measures for Malta and Italy in order to ensure that asylum seekers are not abandoned at sea.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Andrew Borg Cardona and Paul Borg Olivier are representing Repubblika.