Double murderer claims he has witnesses to 'campaign of terror' underway in prison

The man is willing to confirm on oath that the infamous 'torture chair' in prison does in fact exist, and has been used several times

Prison Director Alex Dalli has been widely criticised for his military approach at Corradino Correctional Facility
Prison Director Alex Dalli has been widely criticised for his military approach at Corradino Correctional Facility

A double murderer serving a life sentence at Corradino Correctional Facility has filed a court application, claiming a breach of human rights and reporting “a systematic campaign of terror, fear and torture” at the hands of his prison guards.

This was argued by lawyers for Brian Vella, who was found guilty by a jury in 2007 of murdering his elderly neighbours. Vella was condemned to life imprisonment, a punishment confirmed on appeal in 2011.

Vella had gagged and bound 79-year-old Gerald Grima and his 63-year-old wife Josephine in their apartment on 10 February, 2000. The elderly couple died of asphyxiation.

In his court application filed earlier today, Vella claims that the systematic mistreatment of prisoners is happening with the blessing of prisons director Col. Alexander Dalli (retd).           

“Brian Vella is prepared to confirm on oath that the ‘torture chair’ mentioned in the media a few weeks ago truly exists in the prison building and was also used several times.”

Vella claims that on 24 September 2018 he and his cell mates had seen prison guards taking out a dead prisoner from the facilitiy. “The fact that this remained secret shows that it was most probably something illicit and illegal.”

The guards involved knew that Vella had seen them, he claims, adding that a “campaign of persecution” against him had begun the following day.

This persecution consisted of restriction of privileges and neglect, Vella said.

Many of the alleged abuses existed “either due to lack of training of the prison guards or malignly, to cause mental torture to the prisoners,” he said. Examples of these were arbitrary limitations of visitation rights imposed by the guards, claimed the prisoner.

“These disciplinary measures are being taken for frivolous reasons or imaginary slights and worst of all there is no board where one can have his case heard fairly.”

The application, filed by lawyer Jason Grima, offers to have Vella and other prisoners give evidence on oath to establish the truth.