The Malta Independent 28 January 2023, Saturday
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Bis-serjeta creator charged by police after online 'threat' to carpet bomb River of Love

Monday, 9 January 2023, 14:31 Last update: about 19 days ago

The creator of the satirical news site Bis-Serjeta, Matthew Bonanno, has been charged with “the misuse of electronic equipment to make threats” after he posted a Facebook comment that ‘threatened’ that the evangelic group River of Love should be carpet bombed.

The comment dates back to 4 January 2022, where Bonanno wrote “And Zebbug is pretty nice. Relocate River Of Love to Bugibba, then carpet bomb. Two birds with one stone”.

Bonanno was replying to a comment made by another Facebook user which said: “I don’t think Malta can afford a sustained aerial bombing campaign on Zebbug PS not to say it shouldn’t try.”

The comments came from a Facebook post made by Bonanno where he wrote “River Of Love should be treated exactly like ISIS.”

Both Bonanno and this other user have been charged separately for these comments, Bonanno said.

These Facebook comments were posted days after the cold-blooded murder of 29-year-old Polish Paulina Dembska, at Independence gardens, Sliema. Abner Aquilina was charged with the murder and he was also linked to River of Love as he had attended a few meetings.

Aquilina had also made claims to the police and told them that the devil told him “kill more people.”

Bonanno said that the comments he made on social media “were clearly satirical and hyperbolic in nature, and a reaction to this shocking crime.”

“I’m now raising funds to fight this ridiculous case, which will help cover my legal expenses, wasting time going back and forth to court, and any fine (up to of €50,000) I may incur if found guilty,” he wrote in an article on his page.

He said that if he wins the case or if there are any leftover funds, these will contribute to the continued running of his website and 10% of the extra sum will go to an LGBTIQ charity.

“I don’t intend to take this lying down. Help me fight against religious extremists for freedom of expression, satire and opinion,” he said.

He also apologised for ridiculing Bugibba and saying that it should be bombed, however, he satirically added: “In reality, there are three or four restaurants that should be spared.”

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