Siblings of two migrants who died in Maltese waters last month have requested damages from Malta, saying their brothers’ death was the result of inaction by the authorities.
Fthawi Tesfamichael Welday and Asfaha Letenugus Amelesom filed a judicial protest against Prime Minister Robert Abela, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri and AFM Commander Jeffrey Curmi, blaming the Maltese authorities for “failing to honour their obligations under international law to ensure rescue operations are conducted in a timely and effectively manner”.
The relatives, who live in the Netherlands and Sweden respectively, said serious shortcomings by the Malta Armed Forces had breached the migrants’ right to life and their right to seek asylum.
Lawyer and former PN secretary general Paul Borg Olivier and lawyer Evelyn Borg Costanzi signed the judicial protest.
The two relatives also filed an urgent application in front of magistrate Joe Mifsud, who is conducting a magisterial inquiry into the incident following a request by NGO Repubblika.
They urged the magistrate to take all necessary measures to listen to the testimonies of the surviving migrants so as to ensure the proper administration of justice.
Last month, at least six men died on board a migrant vessel in Maltese waters after Malta, as well as Italy and Spain, declared their ports unsafe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. After several days stranded at sea, a commercial vessel ferried the migrants back to Libya.