International freedom of expression and journalists’ organisations have issued a statement in support of Reppublika President Robert Aquilina, calling on the Maltese authorities to urgently consider his request for police protection.
Earlier today, Aquilina, through his lawyer Therese Commodini Cachia, sent a letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela and Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa urging them to provide adequate protection for Aquilina and his family.
In their statement, PEN International and Scottish PEN describe how the organisations wrote to Malta’s police commissioner in July 2022, after Robert Aquilina had been stripped of most of his police protection.
Subsequent correspondence and a meeting between Aquilina, PEN Malta and senior police officials on 20 April 2023 revealed that Aquilina’s safety was no longer considered to be at significant risk, despite ongoing threats.
#Malta: we urge the authorities to grant police protection to @repubblikaMT President @RobertAquilina3, and to do everything in their power to ensure the protection of writers, journalists, and activists. Our joint statement: https://t.co/rZmxhEed0Y @IFEX @IndexCensorship pic.twitter.com/SaUdsJqmMa
— PEN International (@pen_int) April 26, 2023
These threats included an individual who confessed to the police that he had followed Aquilina, his wife, and their children to churches to obtain information about the family and then used it to threaten Aquilina.
Another person stated under oath that he had overheard a group of people outside the parliament talking in a way that indicated they would harm Aquilina. A police officer threatened Aquilina’s safety and subsequently resigned from the police force. Meanwhile, vilification and online harassment of Aquilina on media platforms continue unabated, where he is routinely branded a “traitor”.
The organisations state that they “regard Robert Aquilina’s case as urgent and support his request for police protection. We ask for assurance that he and his family will be provided with full protection to safeguard them from all possible harm”.
The letter was signed by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), IFEX, Index on Censorship, Irish PEN, PEN International, PEN Malta, Scottish PEN and Wales PEN Cymru.
Other messages of support came from the Nationalist Party, which also issued a statement saying “that the state and the police have a duty to protect those who want the truth to be revealed, even if it displeases the Government of the day”.
The Nationalist Party statement added that it agrees with “the people’s concern that Robert Abela’s government seems not to have learned from the conclusions of the Public Inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, which had found that the State had failed to recognise the dangers she faced”.
“In light of all this, the Nationalist Party reiterates that the State has an obligation to ensure the protection of Notary Robert Aquilina and his family”.
International organisation, the PN. Good so far.
Where are the others in Malta? The ADPD, Moviment Graffiti, Occupy Justice and the other smaller ones, hardly mentioned in the media that often?
Mr Aquilina, Mr Azzopardi, Repubblika and everybody who takes the risk to go public and thus exposing oneself to the ridiculing, mud slinging, intimidation and threats by the PL Troll Gang, they are doing all this for the others too.
Is it really that hard for all the NGOs in Malta to form a strong unity and support one another?
If they let this man and all those at the forefront down, they are letting down themselves too.
Thank you for the link. Next time I know where to look for statements.
I would go a step further where is the EP european parliament and president of Malta in all this….nowhere to be heard?
I take your suggestion regarding the EP and I also often thought myself in recent times, that with all what is going on in Malta, the PL should be asked to quit membership within the S&D group. With the EP election due next year, I suppose that the S&D will have to wait for the results and maybe further PL scandals revealed.I have given up on counting already because it might easily fill a year’s calendar.
The President of Malta, sadly to say, isn’t in my view a person from which one can expect anything that goes contrary to the PL party line.
Never,ever did I think we would come to this..Malta a frightening place to be a journalist on the wrong sic…,side of the political divide
Reminding government of its obligations, in these conditions, is the most merciful opposition one can embark upon.
In these conditions with government and its sabotaged institutions practicing the realms of impunity and court delaying tactics,
“our courts will not necessarily save us, nor will other professionals; ultimately, only mobilized citizens can. Optimism is not the same as hope. The former is about probabilities; the latter is about finding paths forward, irrespective of how likely it is that someone will take these paths. The paths are there; the rest is up to us. democracy, after all, is not about trust (be it in individuals or institutions); it’s about effort.” Quote from Jan Werner Muller book Democracy Rules. (2021)
P.N. Has anyone from your party dared reading politics? Mobilization does not tantamount to violence. It is the right and obligation of members in the public sphere. Kindly do not misinterpret words.