Criminologist says critics should be accusing EU, not targeting AFM front-liners

Criminologist Saviour Formosa says Repubblika complaint to police seeks to incarcerate frontliners when fingers should be pointed at EU inaction

Prof. Saviour Formosa
Prof. Saviour Formosa

The criminologist Saviour Formosa has waded into the debate over a police report filed against the Maltese government over the deaths of migrant at seas, warning that extremist groupings could be emboldened without any solid evidence substantiating such criminal reports.

Prof. Formosa said that while the Repubblika police complaint it had filed should be investigated with haste, when lacking solid evidence such complaints could end up having an adverse effect.

Formosa said that army front-liners risking their lives out at sea should get closure and a fair hearing through a proper police investigation, after Repubblika denounced Prime Minister Robert Abela, the AFM commander Jeffrey Curmi, and members of the patrol boat P51, of having cause the death of migrants that were not saved while they were inside the Maltese search and rescue area.

The boat was eventually turned back to Libya by a commercial vessel, with five migrants found dead and seven others missing at sea.

“I urge that such claims to the Police and the Courts be made when backed by solid evidence and that they veer away from sensationalism [or] urge to be in the spotlight, such that results of requests would have the adverse affect,” he said, after the European Court of Human Rights turned down Repubblika’s bid to force open the ports.

“This scenario has strengthened the hand that seeks to push the brunt of the current economic and future ecological migrants towards Malta…

“The need for a comprehensive approach towards migration should be Europe-wide and it is there that such claims should be targeted, as the recent years and even more during the past days have shown that the EU response has failed its own states.”

Formosa said that where states and super-states fail, “opportunities for crime explode and in this scenario, offenders are seeking new venues to exploit the poor, the desperate and those seeking help. The current situation, where the European lack of solidarity has left all wanting, is ripe for criminal exploitation.”

Formosa said that seeking to incarcerate front-liners only aided the criminal domain, not mitigate its escalation. “The department of criminology expresses its solidarity with the persons targeted in the police reports. Should there be guilt, the rule of law will take its natural path, but based on evidence not shooting from the hip.”

AFM commander Jeffrey Curmi lectures at the Department of Criminology within the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, as well as forming part of the DVI (Disaster Victim Identification) Task Force set up between the AFM, MPF Police Force, CPD, health authorities, the University of Malta and the Academy for Disciplined Forces.