Man charged with Metsola death threats denied bail

The man’s relatives stood outside the courtroom in tears as he was led away by police

MEP Roberta Metsola called out the threat on her Facebook profile
MEP Roberta Metsola called out the threat on her Facebook profile

A man who sparked controversy by saying a PN MEP should be "burned alive" has been arraigned in court.

Emmanuel Navarro, 66, of Naxxar appeared under arrest before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this afternoon, accused of inciting hatred on politicial grounds, misuse of electronic communications equipment, insulting and threatening Metsola in writing, under the criminal code and the press act.

The pensioner found himself in the national spotlight, being roundly condemned, after a number of PN MPs posted screenshots of his Facebook comment, in which he called MEP Roberta Metsola a "traitor" who should be burned alive.

PN MEPs had previously come under fire for their criticism of the Labour government in a rule of law debate held at the European Parliament after the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In a brief statement urging the police to take action, the PN said it unreservedly condemned the hate speech and expressed solidarity with its MEP.
Inspector Elton Taliana charged Navarro with making the threats, as his relatives waited in tears outside the courtroom

The man pleaded not guilty and requested bail, however the inspector objected, adding that, "as a policeman and in the current context", he said he could not let such threats slide.
Navarro's defence counsel, Legal Procurator Peter Paul Zammit said it was "a sad day for Malta" that a 66-year-old man was being arraigned under arrest for a Facebook threat.

The argument was dismissed by the court which argued that it was a "horrendous day that one should write such comments”.  It said it was horrified that people could sit at home, serving as a hidden hand to instigate such cruel crimes.

In view of the fact that Navarro had a previous conviction for making threats, bail was denied and a protection order in favour of the MEP was issued. The man's relatives were in tears outside the courtroom as the man was led away.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina were parte civile.

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