Watch: EU flag-draped coffin accompanies Lifeline captain to court

Il-Kaptan Claus-Peter Reisch wara sedutaAktar dettalji:

Posted by on Thursday, August 23, 2018

Non-governmental groups Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye and Lifeline accompanied MV Lifeline’s Captain Claus Peter Reisch to court with a symbolic funeral cortège.

They carried a coffin draped in the European Union flag from Castille to court.

The court hearing has been deferred to the 11th of September, after letters sent to Dutch authorities were sent back as they were in the wrong format. The letter was sent again in the new format yesterday.

The magistrate said that had the prosecution informed him, Reisch would not have had to come to Malta in vain.

The vessel MV Lifeline is still in Maltese ports and this is costing the organisation money, according to defence lawyer Cedric Mifsud. Mifsud said that the Attorney General was informed about the format used by Dutch authorities and he should have sent them in the right format.

The case hearing will continue on the 11th of September at 10.30am.

The Court was informed that letters were sent to the Dutch authorities but they were sent back because they were not in the authorities’ desired format. The Prosecution says that the letter in a new format yesterday. The Magistrate says that had the Prosecution informed the Court, the Captain would have deferred the cause instead of coming to Malta for nothing.

The activists claimed that the funeral was symbolic and represented the end of human rights in Europe since the Captain was taken to court in order to set an example with Lifeline to discourage other NGOs from saving people’s lives. They continued by saying that the ship Sea-Watch 3 and the airplane Moonbird, both used for rescue, are still being held in Malta without legal reason. As a result, people in Maltese waters cannot be rescued. They remarked that this funeral was nothing compared to the 1500 people found dead in the Mediterranean Sea since last January up till now.

The Attorney General claimed that the letter of request was sent according to the law. However, the Netherlands stated that letters of request are not being accepted since the European law and therefore the law in the Netherlands were amended. The Attorney General responded that Malta immediately sent a formal letter. He added that it is common for laws in countries to differ and that the Maltese authorities received and sent a number of letters of requests which have been accepted.