Caruana Galizias file constitutional case arguing removal of banners breach their human rights

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s heirs are taking the Planning Authority to court over what they say is an abuse of power and a breach of their right to express themselves

The banners were taken down by the Planning Authority
The banners were taken down by the Planning Authority

Daphne Caruana Galizia widower and three sons filed a constitutional case on Friday against the Planning Authority over the removal of two banners placed across the façade of a property in Old Bakery Street in Valletta last April.

Caruana Galizia was killed using a car bomb on 16 October last year. Three men have been charged with her murder, however they are widely believed to be the killing’s executors, and not the masterminds.

The banners, which first appeared on 31 March, and which were one of a number similar demonstrations since her murder, asked why OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi weren’t in prison, why the Prime Minister’s wife wasn’t being investigated by the police and who paid for Caruana Galizia’s murder “after she asked these questions”.

Through their lawyers, Nationalist MPs Jason Azzopardi and Therese Comodini Cachia, and Eve Borg Costanzi, the family have asked the court to declare that the PA’s interpretation and application of the law, including the removal of the banners, amounted to interference that was unjustified, disproportionate and unnecessary in a democratic country.

The PA’s actions, the family argued, were in violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Last April, following the removal of the banners, the family had filed a judicial letter calling on the PA to cease and desist from removing the banners.

In it, they refered to enforcement notice EC/00068/18 issued on 31-33 Old Bakery Street Valletta against a banner. The banner was originally put up on 31 March and was removed on 7 April.

A second banner was put up on the 15 April and was taken less than 12 hours later, the family said.