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Melvin Theuma Must Be Placed Immediately Under State Care… We’re Already Seven Months Late

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Conspiracy theories have started gaining momentum following state witness Melvin Theuma’s suspected attempted suicide. Malta wants answers, but there should only be one question: Why was Theuma never placed under the state’s care?

Theuma is the most high profile state witness Malta has ever seen after being granted a presidential pardon to turn over crucial evidence on Tumas Group businessman Yorgen Fenech’s involvement in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

However, the state has left him worryingly under-protected. Theuma was left alone to his own devices in his home – whether he was attacked, attempted suicide, or was pressured to do so. Police might have been right outside, but truth be told, we’re simply lucky that Theuma did not hit a major artery and die on the spot.

Imagine if Theuma was now dead. The case could fall apart just as new recordings were set to be played in court. No justice would be served, and deeply rooted divisions in the country would reach a breaking point.

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has confirmed that Theuma’s guards were not stationed inside his home to maintain his privacy. But how can privacy come into play when the life of an illegal gambler and loan shark who killed a woman that is providing absolutely crucial evidence to solve the case is on the line?

All the signs were there. Theuma has repeatedly said on the witness stand that ever since Caruana Galizia’s murder he was depressed and regularly thought about committing suicide. He’s under enormous pressure daily and isolated with probably-shocked and disappointed family members his only support.

Why was Theuma never granted regular psychiatric help from the moment he turned state witness? Why wasn’t he put on guard 24/7?

With mental health supposedly on the government’s agenda, questions must be asked as to why such a glaring mistake was allowed to happen. And whether it’s the wildest conspiracy theory or a case of attempted suicide, the state must be held accountable.

It should have never reached this point, and while Theuma’s survival is ultimately positive, it does raise concerns over whether the defence will try to portray Theuma as a non-credible witness.

Ultimately, the state should have taken immediate responsibility the moment Theuma turned state witness. The failure to do so must come with consequences with so much on the line.

Political responsibility is sometimes hard to come by in Malta. Still, the government could, at the very least, learn from this grave mistake and alter Theuma’s conditions as soon as possible.

An unsuccessful suicide attempt is not the antidote for people battling severe depression or suicidal thoughts. Given the severity of Theuma’s suspected suicide attempt, it should be clear that he could try again. The smallest slip-up and all could be lost.

Theuma must be subject to constant guard – even if his personal privacy is breached. He must be placed in a safe facility where no threats or intimidation can reach him.

He must be provided with psychiatric help, free of charge, to hopefully address current issues. Theuma’s pardon hinges on a true testimony, and his mental state should be the most critical concern.

The state cannot stand idly by and watch this unfold. There are two way forward either act or be complicit. Whatever the scenario, a man’s life and the most complex case Malta has ever seen are on the line.

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