Far-right ‘patriots’ disputed racial motivation of murder, now accuse media

Far-right firebrand Norman Lowell’s party say there is no connection between anti-migration speech and Souleyman murder

MPM candidate Simon Borg (left) and party leader Henry Battistino (second from left)
MPM candidate Simon Borg (left) and party leader Henry Battistino (second from left)

The Maltese far-right is attempting a defence of its inflammatory discourse on immigration after arrest warrants were issued for two Armed Forces soldiers accused of having murdered Ivorian Lassana Cisse Souleyman, in cold blood. 

A spokesperson for Nazi apologist Norman Lowell’s party Imperium Europa, which recently billed itself ‘Malta’s third party’ on the back of rising poll numbers, denied any connection between the firebrand’s speeches and the murder. 

The IE spokesperson refuted suggestions that Lowell’s speech had led to the climate in which the racially-motivated murder of Souleyman and the attempted murder of two other men took place. 

“The party condemns every type of murder, hate and violence. There is absolutely no connection [between what Norman Lowell says and this murder],” the spokesperson said. “MaltaToday was quick to make the link between what happened and the far right, but people who don’t think twice before doing something can come from any political sphere.” 

The IE spokesperson said the arrest of the two men showed that Maltese police were doing their job well, and that the arrests should not place a bad light on the armed forces. “The AFM is not part of this crime.” 

The spokesperson, answering Adriano Spiteri’s mobile phone but identifying himself as Andrew Galea, claimed IE did not see migrants as a problem. “Migrants either take advantage of the system to come to Europe, or, in their minority, are genuine refugees. It is the irresponsible governments, which let in uncontrolled influxes of migrants, which are our targets,” he said. 

“The Maltese people are unhappy with the large number of migrants, and our policies are against this influx which is affecting them,” he added. 

Patriots question timing of arrests 

Another far-right party, the Moviment Patriotti Maltin – which was first to dispute press statements that the murder was racially motivated – proceeded to raise suspicions as to why the murder was solved right before the MEP elections. The murder happened right in the midst of an election campaign on 6 April. 

“We are unreservedly condemning the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleyman... no murder is justified, no matter the motivation [but] It is a curious fact that the unfounded and premature doubts spread by the media shortly after the murder were consolidated just a few days before the elections which are so important for the Maltese people. We hope that this case is not being used to shut the mouths of the Maltese who always fight for Malta’s cause in the most civil and democratic way.” 

Contacted earlier in the day, MPM candidate Simon Borg accused the media of having sent out a message that misrepresented the Patriots party, and which could have pushed others into carrying out racially-motivated actions. “Had the media given us a better platform, we would have expressed our ideas better... there are extremist parties in Malta, but the MPM is not one of them.” 

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