The Malta Independent 27 May 2024, Monday
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Five Years On: Activists celebrate El Hiblu 3 as human rights defenders

Saturday, 6 April 2024, 13:17 Last update: about 3 months ago

Activists on Saturday celebrated three young men who have become known as the El Hiblu 3 as human rights defenders.

Five years ago, Amara, Abdalla, and Kader arrived in Malta after acting as translators and mediators on the El Hiblu oil tanker and helping to prevent an unlawful pushback to Libya, the activists said.  Instead of celebrating them as human rights defenders, Malta accused them of terrorism and of other serious offences. At the time, they were 15, 16 and 19 years old.

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Over the last five years, they have bravely endured a broken legal process that has robbed them of their youth, the activists said.

They again demandedthat the Attorney General drop the charges against the El Hiblu 3, as we have done for five years.

Next Saturday, on 13th April, the activists said they will honour Abdalla, Amara, and Kader as human rights defenders. Representatives of various human right organisations, poets, and musicians from Malta and beyond will help to celebrate the El Hiblu 3.

Former President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca will present Abdalla, Amara, and Kader with a human rights award on behalf of the Coalition for the El Hiblu 3.

In her address on Saturday, Coleiro Preca said she was “disgusted” by the way authorities had ignored the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and thrown children into jail.

“The case of Amara, Kader and Abdallah is a clear violation of children’s human rights,” Coleiro Preca said.

Addressing demonstrators, Coleiro Preca said that Malta has violated, in the most appalling way, children’s human rights.

“Instead of celebrating their immense strength of character... they were condemned as criminals,” she said. “Is it a crime to communicate in more than one language? Is it a crime to mediate to calm and restore some peace?”

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