The Malta Independent 30 September 2023, Saturday
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Abela uncomfortable over conviction of woman charged with abortion

Semira Abbas Shalan Friday, 2 June 2023, 18:40 Last update: about 5 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said Friday that he is uncomfortable over the conviction of a woman who was charged with performing an abortion at home.

Speaking in an interview with Strategic Communication Consultant Lou Bondi in a conference on the State of the Nation survey, Abela expressed his concern on what has happened, which should have never happened, he said.

He was reacting to the indictment and conviction of a woman over abortion on Thursday. NGO Voice for Choice revealed that the arraignment was handed down a conditional discharge for carrying out an abortion at her own personal residence.

Asked on corruption, Abela maintained that the situation has improved under his tenure due to the reforms and changes his government has done. He said that today, everyone knows that the institutions are working, and those abusing their position have consequences.

Abela said that his government strengthened the FIAU, the Police Corps as well as the judiciary.

He quoted Eurobarometer statistics in response to a question that the impression of the survey was that people are angry. Abela said that three of four persons believe that the country is moving in the right direction.

The survey showed that people are living more day by day, not planning their lives. Abela said that the pandemic has affected how people plan out their lives, as well as inflation.

“The public needs to adjust. This does not worry me, however, and persons should be left to see how they want to plan their lives,” he said, adding that government has contributed to inflation by subsidizing energy, deeming it a socialist measure.

On political divide, Abela said that there needs to be civilized debates in moments where the country needs to unite. He said that social media has been used negatively by politicians to spread hatred and division.

Justice over the death of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was not done, Bondi said. Abela was asked if he excludes that more people will be arraigned for the journalist’s murder, after it was announced in 2021 that all those involved were either sentences or arraigned.

He agreed with what was announced, saying that he has full faith in the country’s police corps.

When asked about the fact that in 10 years, the Police Commissioner was changed six times, with the present one also under scrutiny, Abela said that the Police Commissioner is chosen through a parliamentary process where the Opposition can ask any question before the Commissioner is appointed.

He said it was surreal that the PN attacks the Commissioner week by week. Abela said that government also had a hand in granting a presidential pardon to one person involved in the assassination of Caruana Galizia, so that others are revealed.

Upon a question on how government closes its doors to requests of information by entities or the public, Abela mentioned the Freedom of Information legislation which was implemented, which processes requests according to the law, rejecting issuing information if the law does not allow it.

Further pressed, Abela said that the law must be considered in FOI requests.

He said that a major reform in the constitution was that the judiciary became autonomous to the executive, as well as the better recognition of journalism by amendments due to the public inquiry looking into Caruana Galizia’s death.

Asked on accusations that Abela wants to control the state, the judiciary and the nation, Abela said that he does his utmost to benefit the lives of the people, especially the vulnerable.

On foreign workers, and if the country is prepared for over 100,000 foreigners living in Malta, Abela said that economic growth cannot be regressed, and these workers are needed.

He said that in 2008, under a PN government, the economic crisis and its weight was put on the citizen’s shoulders, with those surviving and those collapsing.

Abela said that the weight of the pandemic was shouldered by government.

He also mentioned indirectly the case of Jean Paul Sofia’s death, where he again said that the magisterial inquiry is taking too long.

Abela also said that Maltese people should still criticise their preferred party even in government.

“Robert Abela, who are you?” he was asked. Abela took the opportunity to express his concern over the woman who was charged with abortion, saying that these social injustices hurt him and make him uncomfortable.

He said he was surprised that the situation seemed as if nothing had happened, expecting a larger debate on this.

“Let’s begin these debates, do we want these circumstances happening in the country behind closed doors?” Abela asked.


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