Lawyer André Borg has filed a judicial protest over the controversial hotel quarantine rule that forces Maltese residents to be quarantined in a hotel at their own cost for two weeks – even if they have their own accommodation in Malta.
Borg did so after his clients had to leave the island for essential travel.
The residents were prepared to stay at home for two weeks upon their return, but not to stay in a hotel. “Of course they were aware they had to quarantine for 14 days, but not that staying in the hotel was obligatory.”
Once they were detained, after being escorted by the police, they contacted their lawyer André Borg.
Borg looked into the constitutional human rights that the hotel rule would breach, such as the freedom of movement and the right to liberty, and saw that a number of cases were indeed breaching the law.
“The enjoyment of one’s property was being denied by the fact that one is unlawfully detained against their will in a hotel, which is in breach of human rights.”
A judicial protest is not a lawsuit, but a presentation of facts intended to push a legal issue forward. The European Commission and the President of the Republic were notified of the breach of human rights.
It is expected that the judicial protest will be answered, though it is also aimed at spreading awareness.
He also agrees on opposition leader Bernard Grech’s proposal to refund those cases that were unjust. “Given that there was a breach of human rights, I would expect that these cases would be refunded,” Borg said.
He adds that there is a need to distinguish between different cases, as the hotel quarantined would for instance be justified in the case of tourists arriving without a negative PCR.
Upon being asked whether he thinks it’s a coincidence that the rules are only changing after this public outcry, he said that “pressure had started building up, so at some point it erupts like a volcano.”
“Let’s try moving forward. Let’s try not to add even more suffering on people who have already been passing through a hard time. The least we expect now is more measures being put on them, making the situation even more unbearable.”
The judicial protest might eventually become a constitutional case. In that case, his clients are ready to go forward, seeking justice for their breach of human rights – unless the situation changes.
Health Minister Chris Fearne is set to announce an update to the rules after growing backlash against the regulation over the last week. Ahead of his press conference today, watch the full interview here:
Do you think the controversial law needs to be challenged?