Civil Society NGO Repubblika said it will withdraw its criminal complaint against the crew of the P52 patrol boat involved in the alleged sabotage plot of a migrant boat last week if the government orders an inquiry into the incident.
Last week, Repubblika filed two police reports against Prime Minister Robert Abela and the Armed Forces after the death of 12 migrants at sea. Prior to the incident, Malta had declared its ports ‘unsafe’ as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in a press release earlier today, the NGO said that all people who acted within the law, including the crewmen of the P52, deserved to be cleared of suspicion of wrongdoing but “saw no reason to consider revising our position about our complaint against the prime minister and the army chief for their decision not to save people in distress at sea.”
Repubblika also noted that the crew’s lawyer had insisted earlier today that ‘there was no wrongdoing’ by his clients. The NGO said that while this denial doesn’t provide closure on the allegation, there are now two sides to the story.
“We demand that the government lives up to its responsibilities. It is not too late for the government to do today what it should have done 10 days ago when this story first emerged: to order an inquiry to establish the facts. An inquiry would look at what happened on the boat, but also what orders were given and what decisions were taken on shore,” they said.
“The silence of the government and the army command combined with today’s statement by the P52 crewmen raises the suspicion that there may indeed have been wrongdoing but investigating the crewmen alone would not uncover it.”
“Now that the tacit admission of guilt inferred from the horrific silence since reports of the alleged incident emerged has been broken, Repubblika would — if an inquiry is ordered by the government — withdraw its criminal complaint against the P52 crew until the facts are established by the inquiry.”
Repubblika once again reiterated its call on the government to abandon the policy of refusing to save people at sea and refusing to allow their rescuers to bring them to our shores.