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Prisoners Facing Solitary Confinement Orders In Malta Are Being Silenced, Peppi Azzopardi Claims

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Updated 11.16am on 8/11/21

Prisoners facing solitary confinement orders are being silenced and not allowed to speak to the police, outspoken TV presenter Peppi Azzopardi has claimed.

“Right now, as I write this, there are four prisoners who want to give statements to the police over the prison director’s leadership,” Azzopardi said today. This comes after months of Azzopardi raising awareness over what he calls a dictatorial environment within Corradino Correctional Facility.

“They want to testify abut what they’ve seen and what they’ve been through. The director has refused to allow them to give a statement to the police. I’ve sent these four names to the Police Commissioner to take immediate action so that these prisoners can testify.”

The four men Azzopardi is in contact with are prisoners currently not in solitary confinement, but with experience of it. 

Under Maltese law, solitary confinement can only be mandated by court order, and not by prison officials, and can last a maximum of 10 days, with an interval of two months between each stay. However, modern experts question the efficacy of solitary confinement in helping decrease crimes as a growing movement calls for the abolishment of the punishment.

There are four men currently facing solitary confinement orders in Malta:

Bojan Cmelik – given a 10-day term of solitary confinement, he was jailed for life over the murder of businessmen Hugo Chetcuti as he opened a restaurant in Paceville in July 2018.

Norbert Schembri – given three 10-day terms of solitary confinement, he was jailed for life over the murder of his partner, 32-year-old Josette Scicluna, who he stabbed 49 times in front of their seven-year-old daughter in May 2004. Since then, he was convicted of slashing a prisoner’s eye while inside a prison waiting room.

Brian Vella – given a life sentence that includes solitary confinement, he was sentenced after he murdered his elderly neighbours to rob their home in Santa Lucija. 79-year-old Gerald Grima and his 63-year-old wife Josephine were bound and gagged in their flat where he stole a mere €460 worth of items.

Nizar El Gadi – sentenced to 10 days solitary confinement five times a year, El Gadi was jailed for life for murdering her former wife Margaret Mifsud, a lawyer. Mifsud’s body was found asphyxiated in her own car in Baħar iċ-Ċaghaq in 2012.

What do you make of Azzopardi’s calls?

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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