El Hiblu case exposes institutional racism: activists stick posters to AG office

Activists on Monday stuck banners on the door of the Attorney General’s Office, denouncing delays in the case of three young men accused of commandeering a ship and threatening its crew after they were rescued at sea in 2019.

The case itself, the activists claimed on Monday, exposed the institutionalised racism that plagued the island’s criminal justice system.

Moviment Graffitti is calling on the AG to expedite the resolution of the El Hiblu case, insisting that justice delayed is justice denied.

“It is time to right this wrong. We call again on the AG to end the uncertainty that these three young men face. It is high time to drop the charges. Free the El Hiblu 3,” the NGO said on Monday.

The El Hiblu case dates back to March 2019, when the merchant vessel rescued 108 people from a boat. Those who remained on the dinghy fearing pushback disappeared and are presumed dead.

El Hiblu was instructed to take those aboard to Libya but the vessel entered Malta. The armed forces boarded the ship following reports that migrants had seized control of the vessel.

Three teenagers aged 15, 16 and 19 were arrested and charged with crimes amounting to terrorism. They face 30 years in prison.

An international commission set up specifically for this case is urging the authorities to dismiss the trial, insisting the three had acted as translators and mediators between the captain and survivors.

On Monday Moviment Graffitti said that over recent months, concerned citizens and advocates for justice had grown increasingly frustrated by the apparent disregard shown by the AG’s office towards calls for a swift resolution of the case.

“This ongoing delay in the pursuit of justice not only undermines the principles upon which our legal system is built but also perpetuates a grave injustice for the young individuals involved. 

“Acting as mediators and translators on the El Hiblu, Amara, Kader, and Abdalla helped to prevent the unlawful pushback of over 100 people to Libya and to diffuse a tense situation at sea,” the NGO said.

“Rather than celebrate their bravery, the Maltese authorities charged them with several crimes that could lead to life sentences.”

‘Strong with the weak and weak with the strong’

The case has garnered international attention – a testament to the shared belief that Abdalla, Amara, and Kader have not committed any crime, the NGO added.

“The AG’s office has turned a deaf ear to these pleas for action. Despite numerous letters and petitions from concerned citizens, organisations, and experts in the field, there has been no response.

“This lack of communication and transparency is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about the commitment of the AG’s office to the principles of justice and due process.”

The prolonged delay in addressing the El Hiblu case not only deepened the suffering of the three young men but also eroded public trust in the justice system, according to Moviment Graffitti.

The delay, the activists added, sent a message that some individuals were exempt from the swift and fair treatment that Malta’s legal system should provide to all.

“Any case, whether it involves Maltese or foreign nationals, needs to be just and fair, rather than utilised as a form of retribution, political signalling and deterrence.

“The case exposes the institutional racism that plagues our criminal justice system, which is strong with the weak and weak with the strong.”


Sign up to receive the latest local, national & international Criminal Justice News in your inbox, everyday.

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Sign up today to receive the latest local, national & international Criminal Justice News in your inbox, everyday.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

This post was originally published on this site