The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM) has called on the Justice and Home Affairs Ministry to intervene in the case of Gina Khachatryan, the 30-year-old Armenian journalist who landed in Malta on Friday afternoon on her way to be deported to her homeland.
"We call on the Justice and Home Affairs Ministry to investigate the circumstances surrounding this case and, if warranted, offer political asylum to Ms Khachatryan," said Malcolm J Naudi, chairman, IĠM.
"Ms Khachatryan was in the UK for the past four years after being detained in Armenia for 40 days for revealing electoral fraud, therefore it would be suicidal to send her back to her homeland, where she would risk being detained once more for doing her job as a journalist," added Mr Naudi.
The IĠM also called on the British authorities to reverse their decision not to extend Ms Khachatryan's stay in the United Kingdom.
"As a promoter of democracy and human rights on a global scale, the United Kingdom should not shirk its responsibility in this case and hand over Ms Khachatryan and her family to the Armenian government," he insisted.
According to the international journalists' organisation Reporters Sans Frontieres, Armenia was the 101st worst country (out of 168) for restrictions to press freedom in 2006.
Edik Baghdasaryan, head of the association of investigative journalists in Armenia, has reported a recent wave of violent attacks against journalists in the country as an electoral campaign looms.
There is a history of press freedom violations in Armenia. If officials or large-scale businessmen - do not like what is written, reporters are threatened and, in some cases, beaten up. One reporter was forced to leave his flat last summer.
A copy of this statement has been sent to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Justice and Home Affairs Ministry and the British embassy in Malta.