A protest was held in Valletta this evening in solidarity with author Mark Camilleri after he published text messages between Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech, the businessman accused of commissioning the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The messages were evidence before the courts in a criminal case being heard against Fenech and Camilleri now stands to be arrested for contempt of court for violating a court-imposed gag order on anything related to them.
Camilleri, however, published some 2,200 WhatsApp messages, many of a salacious and intimate nature but others that lifted the lid on widespread political graft, corruption and sleaze.
They include a reference to a third salary she was to receive from the Institute for Tourism Studies because she felt entitled to it since her counterparts were greedy. The Shift published her contract with ITS after obtaining it through a Freedom of Information request before any of these chats emerged.
The chats were made public on Tuesday, the day before Camilleri was due in libel court, where Cutajar is suing for writing on his blog that she had a relationship with 17 Black owner Fenech.
The solidarity protest was organised by Repubblika, Occupy Justice and manueldelia.com.
Camilleri himself, who has said he has removed himself from the reach of the long arm of the law for the time being after the courts ordered his arrest following a record-fast investigation in under 24 hours, addressed the gathering by audio link, presumably to conceal his location.
“There can be no more pretensions,” he said, defending his actions in publishing the messages, which have gripped the nation’s attention. “They have now admitted they are criminals [in the text messages].
“What kind of Socialists are these?” he questioned.
Taking the Labour Party to task for the corruption that has been allowed to fester, Camilleri observed how the messages had been left on the shelf for years and no one took any action against the criminality and corruption they exposed. They were simply ignored.
“They had a chance to fix the Labour Party but they ruined it. They have made it clear that they are not fit to govern and cannot be in power.”
Camilleri is to be charged with contempt of court over the leaks after Cutajar’s lawyers demanded that Attorney General requests an investigation into the leaks. With uncharacteristic speed, the AG acceded to the request.
Following a similarly quick investigation, the police confirmed the messages formed part of evidence filed in criminal proceedings against Fenech and that they were subject to a November 2021 ban on their publication. Camilleri could be imprisoned for up to one month and fined up to €4,000 if found guilty.
The protest was also addressed by Repubblika President Robert Aquilina, Vice-President Alessandra Dee Crespo and executive officer Manuel Delia.
Meta gvern jikkundanna l-habs lil gurnalist fuq evidenza li żvela kontra l-istess gvern ikun gvern fl-istess livell tac-Cina, tal-Korea, tar-Russja, tal-Ażerbajgan (li ntuhom 12points fil-Eurovision), u taż-Żimbabwe.
La semmejt il-Eurovision u l-Ażerbajgan, tiftakruha s-song rebbieha… i’m running scared? Qed taraw x’jigri meta jkollok dittatur protettur tal-kriminali hux?
I’m afraid I don’t entirely agree. Camilleri is currently having his fingers smashed by a mafia-scorsese-casino-hammer because he tried to play the house. That’s the state of it.
Meta jmissu wieħed minn tagħhom, il-ġustizzja taħdem kif suppost, hux…