Repubblika ask police to investigate army's alleged sabotage of migrant boat

Civil society organisation Repubblika has filed a police report regarding claimed sabotage of a vessel carrying migrants by AFM officials • Files another report against Prime Minister and army commander over inaction to save migrants at sea

AFM soldiers from patrol boat P52 allegedly sabotaged a dinghy carrying migrants
AFM soldiers from patrol boat P52 allegedly sabotaged a dinghy carrying migrants

Repubblika have filed a police report in connection with stories in the press that army personnel were involved in the sabotage of a vessel carrying migrants.

The international press reported last week that the crew of AFM patrol boat P52 had boarded a dinghy carrying migrants and cut the cables of the vessel's motor.

The army officials also were reported to have told the migrants that nobody wanted them to approach Malta.

The allegations have to date not be denied by the government.

The government eventually ordered the migrants aboard the dinghy to be brought to shore, were they are now in quarantine.

"If these allegations are true, then the actions taken by one or more members of the crew of P52, or the whole crew itself, would amount to attempted homicide which did not lead to murder only because the situation was put to rights following different orders issued by government.  According to the law, these actions must be investigated," Repubblika said on Thursday.

The NGO also filed a second police report, asking that Prime Minister Robert Abela and AFM Commander Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi be investigated for their inaction after being informed that people were at sea at risk of dying.

"It would seem that the [Robert Abela and Jeffrey Curmi] were informed of persons in danger of death on the sea for whole days. Due to their action or inaction in time of necessity and when they had the power to act, they left tens of persons to risk their lives. Twelve persons died of thirst, or exhaustion or by drowning, as a consequence of the decisions taken by the Prime Minister and Brigadier Curmi," Repubblika said.

The NGO said it was taking this action to seek justice for those who suffered unjustly and died abandoned in the sea. 

"However, Repubblika also wants to see justice done on behalf of all those members of the Armed Forces who have given their heartfelt and generous services every time they saved the lives of people lost in our seas. Through the years, Malta and our soldiers have time and time again, gone beyond their call of duty to save endangered lives. It is not right that the courageous deeds of these generations of soldiers should be tainted with what, it is alleged, has occurred in the past few days," it added.

Repubblika was represented by lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Andrew Borg Cardona and Paul Borg Olivier. 

The NGO said it was considering further action "to ensure justice for the victims of the illegal and cruel decisions taken by the Maltese government in the last few days."