Labour Party supporter Joseph Mary Borg was remanded in custody earlier today after being arraigned on a total of 26 charges of threatening and harassing several prominent activists, writers and opposition MPs, among other charges related to breaching probation order and recidivism.
The people targeted by Borg include Kevin Cassar, a vascular surgeon and former candidate for the PN who is also a prominent contributor on several local news portals including The Shift; Robert Aquilina, the president of Repubblika; his brother, Opposition MP Karol Aquilina; and fellow Opposition MPs Ryan Callus, Beppe Fenech Adami and Jason Azzopardi.
Borg’s letters, which were sent to all six people listed above, detailed how he believed they were responsible for attacks on the country and its government. They contained detailed threats addressed to them as well as the members of their immediate families, implying that Borg had done his homework and had been following them closely enough to know the names of their loved ones as well as their residential addresses.
Cassar spoke to The Shift about the content of the three letters he had received, detailing how the first two were sent to his workplace address at Mater Dei. Much of the content was full of threats and obscene words.
“In one of these letters which I received, Borg even said that, because of what I write, I would end up in the same street in Bidnija in which Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown up, a not-so-subtle threat that indicated he was planning on taking more drastic steps,” Cassar said.
“While the wording didn’t outright suggest the person was out to murder me, the implication and the message was clear: it was a warning for me to stop writing. It was clear that the message was intended to do so,” he added.
Similarly, Repubblika’s president confirmed that the content of the two letters sent to him were of an equally vulgar nature, with Aquilina telling The Shift that the accused had even told police interrogators that he knew which churches his family would visit for Sunday mass.
Cassar said this was not the first time he was being targeted, describing the Labour party’s approach as a “strategy” aimed at stifling dissent and criticism towards the party that echoes the climate of impunity which led to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“When there’s anyone who offers any kind of criticism towards the government, the Labour party has the means and the mechanisms to do whatever it can to ensure the individual’s life is made as difficult as possible to ensure that even if that individual doesn’t stop what they’re doing, they are at least made to think twice about it,” Cassar told The Shift.
Referring in particular to government whip Glenn Bedingfield and ONE TV presenter Karl Stagno Navarra, Cassar pointed towards figures within the Labour party, as well as within government, who are paid to intimidate and harass critics by inciting their supporters against them.
“Several times, the prime minister himself had to condemn Karl Stagno Navarra publicly, but in reality, he condemns him while he is left there to operate on the party’s platform, so these threats and intimidation can continue,” Cassar said.
“I think the party has evaluated this and likely believes that overall, the party benefits more from having Stagno Navarra and people like him inciting people, putting up pictures of individuals while naming and identifying them, like Glenn Bedingfield used to do with Daphne Caruana Galizia,” he added, citing one example in which Bedingfield had published a picture of the number plate of her car.
Cassar further maintained that the government has learned nothing from Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the climate of impunity which facilitated it, pointing out that none of the public inquiry’s recommendations have been successfully implemented as of yet.