Fifty migrants that were pushed back to Libya after being rescued in April are suing Malta for damages, arguing that the action was in breach of their human rights.
Times of Malta reported that according to the migrants, their forced return to Libya went against their right to life, right to claim asylum, right to effective remedy and protection against suffering inhumane conditions, as stated in human rights conventions that Malta signed.
In April, rescue hotline AlarmPhone alerted Malta of a boat of migrants nearing its Search and Rescue Zone. It was located by EU border agency Frontex and later by the Armed Forces of Malta.
However, it took AFM more than 10 hours to rescue those on-board, whose physical and mental condition were deteriorating. The rescued asylum seekers were then abandoned on deck by the crew and left unsheltered in the cold and rain.
After, they were returned to Libya and put in sub-par detention centres.
Their condition was certified by UNHCR officials whose reports were presented to the inquiry into the rescue operation.
The application, led by 50 of those on-board and two siblings of two other migrants that died, has been filed against Prime Minister Robert Abela, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camillieri and the commander of the Armed Forces.
Malta has justified the pushback, arguing that the vessel returned to its homeport.
Justice NGO Repubblika said it was supporting the migrants and would be paying all the legal fees. The migrants are represented by Paul Borg Olivier while the course of action is endorsed by the Nationalist Party.
Meanwhile, The Labour Party said the constitutional case was another attack on the Maltese orchestrated by Republikka and the PN.
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