Updated | Inmate claims solitary confinement retribution after speaking out on ‘campaign of terror’ in prison

A prisoner who spoke out on breach of human rights and systematic terror within the prison facility, has been barred from contacting the outside world and thrown into solitary confinement • Correctional Services Agency denies allegations

Updated at 2:23pm with Correctional Services Agency statement

A prisoner who initiated judicial proceedings over what he describes as systematic terror inside the Corradino Correctional Facility, now claims to have been placed in solitary confinement in a fresh court application.

Brian Vella, 41, said in a court application filed on Monday that he has been banned from communicating with the outside and was placed in solitary confinement as retribution for speaking out on the situation in prison.

Vella, who is a double murderer serving a life sentence, last week filed a court application claiming systematic mistreatment of prisoners with the blessing of prisons director Col. Alexander Dalli.

Vella said he is prepared to confirm under oath that the “torture chair” mentioned in the media does exist, despite denials by both Dalli and the Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri. He also claimed to have seen prison guards taking out a dead prisoner from the facility in September 2018.

In a fresh application filed on Monday, Vella has claimed more inhumane treatment, following the claims he made last week.

“All this was done in retaliation for the complaint I filed last week,” Vella said in his application.

Prisoners in solitary confinement are subjected to 23 hours inside their cells, a measure that is akin to solitary confinement measures that are universally condemned.

Division 6, which had previously been closed down, had been condemned by the UN’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture over its “simply appalling” material conditions, where single-occupancy cells were found to be accommodating two inmates back in 2013.

The wing was criticised for having had poor access to natural light, or artificial lighting and ventilation. Cells were then only equipped with one bed and another mattress, placed on the floor, and an unpartitioned floor toilet.”

Jason Grima, the lawyer representing Vella has requested his client be transferred out of CCF, as he was in imminent physical and psychological danger.

The lawyer also said that after making the claims, Vella returned to his cell to find that it had been ransacked. No illegal items were found in his cell.

The initial application, also filed by Grima, offers to have Vella and other prisoners give evidence on oath to establish the truth.“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.”

MaltaToday has reached out to the Home Affairs Ministry for a reaction.

Correctional Services Agency reacts

Meanwhile, reacting to the claims, the Correctional Services Agency "categorically denied" the allegations, insisting that recordings existed that showed otherwise.


"The agency will be rebutting the allegations in detail during court proceedings," the statement read.

The agency gave no further details.