A Maltese woman who has not been allowed to marry her imprisoned fiancé for over a year has spoken out about the abuse he’s received inside Malta’s prison due to their insistence on getting married.
The woman, Meliza Muscat, said that her fiancé Yousef Essesi suffered further mistreatment after the couple filed a judicial protest calling out how they had been treated by prison authorities.
“They took him to Division 6, and when they did, they threw him in without clothes, without a mattress, without a fan and locked-up for 24 hours a day,” the fiancée recounted in an interview with TVM.
“As they were taking him to the Division, they stopped him in front of the Director and he told my partner, ‘Tell your lawyer that as long as I remain here, you will not be married and you can thank your girlfriend for that’.”
She continued on to say that he had never been given a reason for being moved to Division 6.
This case dates back to 13th August 2018, when the pair had first asked to be married.
Their request was not met, and, about two months ago, they made the request again, and received no reply. Muscat is at her wit’s end trying to remain close to her fiancé and is not interested in having him leave prison for a ceremony.
“All we want to do is sign a paper, we don’t want a marriage ceremony, we just want to be legally married. I want to be his wife and be able to speak for him, and if anything happens to him I want to be able to sign for him. As it stands, I have no right to know anything.”
Following Essesi’s relocation to Division 6, he was not allowed visitors for six months, and Muscat herself has been ordered not to go near Corridano Correctional Facility in Paola.
She also recounted an incident where she attempted to give clothes and a letter to him but was stopped by officials at the gate. They told her she wasn’t allowed into the facility, and that someone else would have to drop off his clothes and letter.
When she asked for a reason why, she was told they didn’t have one.
Muscat ended by saying she wanted to ask the Director why she is “being deprived of having a family and from seeing her fiancé”.
The couple’s lawyer, Edward Gatt, who filed the Judicial Protest, has called the prison director “arrogant” and said he was breaching their constitutional rights.
“The protestants have a right to marry based on the rights of the protection of the family as listed in the Constitution of Malta and also protected by Fundamental Human Rights,” the judicial protest stated. “The prison director is refusing to allow the detainee to leave prison with an escort for the sole purpose of marrying his partner.”