Manuel Delia wins case against government over clearing of Caruana Galizia memorial

Manuel Delia has won a constitutional case he filed against former justice minister Owen Bonnici, after he persistently ordered the clearing of flowers, candles and photos laid down in memory of the slain journalist at the foot of the Great Siege monument

The press freedom organisations called for the access to the Great Siege monument to be restored
The press freedom organisations called for the access to the Great Siege monument to be restored

Civil society activist Manuel Delia has won a constitutional case against the government over the continuous dismantling of the Daphne Caruana Galizia memorial by government employees.

The proceedings were filed against former justice minister Owen Bonnici, after flowers, candles and photos at the foot of the Great Siege monument were persistently cleared.

The judgment was delivered on Thursday.

A court was told that Bonnici had ordered the clearing in September 2018.

Deo Debatista, who at the time was parliamentary secretary responsible for Valletta 2018 and public cleansing, told the court that the former justice minister had ordered the clearing after the monument was restored.

Debatista said that he had learned through the media that the monument had been cleared “20 times”, but had never issued any direct order to that effect.

The constitutional court, presided over by judge Joseph Zammit McKeon, ruled a breach of the applicant’s right to freedom of expression in the tenacious clearing of the makeshift memorial.

In his reaction to the judgment, Manuel Delia called for the immediate resignation of Owen Bonnici.

"Our fundamental human right to protest has been recognised. Bonnici violated our rights more than 500 times. He must now resign," the activist and blogger said.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Therese Comodini Cachia, Paul Borg Olivier and Eve Borg Costanzi assisted Delia.

Daphne Caruana Galizia memorial

The makeshift memorial was erected just days after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia outside her home in Bidnija.

Every 16th of the month activists gather at the memorial to pay tribute to the slain journalist, while calling for justice. Caruana Galizia was killed on 16 October 2017.

Just days after his election as new prime minister, Robert Abela instructed public cleansing employees to stop clearing the monument.

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