Abuse victim fighting travel ban after man claims she wants abortion

Women’s Rights Foundation claims that a woman's fundamental rights have been breached following a court injunction prohibiting her from going abroad after abusive partner claimed she wants an abortion

A court has provisionally upheld a warrant prohibiting a woman from travelling abroad after her abusive partner claimed she wanted to have an abortion overseas
A court has provisionally upheld a warrant prohibiting a woman from travelling abroad after her abusive partner claimed she wanted to have an abortion overseas

An abuse victim has been prohibited from travelling by a court after claims made by her partner that she planned to have an abortion abroad.

The victim is being represented by the Women’s Rights Foundation’s legal team that protested the breach of the woman's right to free movement and privacy. The foundation said the woman was served with a warrant prohibiting her from travelling due to "false allegations".

WRF said that this is not only contrary to her right to freedom of movement but also in breach of her fundamental right to privacy and blatant gender discrimination just because she is a woman.

WRF legal team have just left the courtroom where they had to defend their client, a pregnant victim of domestic abuse....

Posted by Women's Rights Foundation on Thursday, September 24, 2020

The provisional injunction has been in place for a week and will remain in place until the court makes its decision.

Speaking to MaltaToday, human rights lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic said that this was nothing more than a ludicious unfounded claim by the partner in an attempt to use the law to control his victim.

Dimitrijevic said that the woman, who is 15 weeks pregant, had no intention of travelling for an abortion. "However, regardless of her intention this was a breach of her fundamental human rights. Because of the order, she has been forced to surrender her passport to the police station for over a week," Dimitrijevic said.

Dimitrijevic said the organisation will go through all the necessary channels in Malta to seek justice and if need be go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

Commenting on the case, Moviment Graffitti said that there can be no gender equality when women’s bodies and lives are policed by perpetrators of violence, by the courts, and by the State.

"This woman cannot legally be prevented from travelling, independently of whether she wants to travel abroad for an abortion, which is legal outside Maltese jurisdiction. The courts are breaking the law and the woman's human rights in the process," the NGO said. 

In 2003, a Maltese court upheld an injunction filed by the partner of a Russian woman, who was slated for deportation, not to leave the island after he claimed she planned to have an abortion overseas.

In a claim filed against the police commissioner, Anthony Borg claimed Gavrilova’s bid to travel to Russia would prejudice his right to freedom of enjoyment of family life. They were unmarried.

In a subsequent constitutional application, Borg claimed he and Gavrilova were cohabiting as long-term partners and that she was seven weeks pregnant with his child. The police commissioner pleaded there was no violation of human rights because Gavrilova was an illegal immigrant.

The police commissioner also said Maltese law could not prevent a foreign national from returning to her own country to carry out an act permissible there. The commissioner argued that Gavrilova was entitled to do whatever she wished so long as she did not violate the law of the country she was in.