Malta considers hate crime law after gay attacks

Maltese government may extend hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation

Malta considers hate crime law after gay attacks
08 February 2012

Maltese Justice Minister Chris Said has hinted he may extend current hate crime laws to include crimes based on gender and sexual orientation during a meeting with representatives of the gay community.

In the span of a few weeks, Malta has been rocked by a string of violent assaults linked to homophobia. On 13 January, a 16-year-old lesbian girl and her girlfriend were attacked by two teenage boys in a public park. They have now been officially charged with assault and are due to appear in court.

On 3 February, an off duty bus driver was involved in an incident with two female passengers on a bus in what transport company Arriva said had seemed to be a homophobic assault. The driver was arrested and later released on €1,000 ($1,300) bail.

Although an EU member and a signatory of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which includes sexual orientation as a basis for non-discrimination, Malta has never changed its domestic hate crime legislation to include a sexual orientation clause.

At a peaceful demonstration in Hamrun in the aftermath of the first homophobic attack, Malta Gay Rights Movement spokesperson Gabi Calleja said ‘raising awareness is important but during this demonstration we’re insisting on political responsibility. We’re asking for legislation which covers more than racial hate.’

With the recent bus incident raising public awareness of Malta’s incomprehensive legal framework to protect gays against hate crimes, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi called the recent homophobic assaults ‘very worrying’, stating that ‘he had instructed Justice Minister Chris Said to review the laws and if necessary make them tighter.’

The Maltese government has also been pushed to make a public statement by the US Bureau of Democracy, Rights and Labour, urging Malta’s leaders to ‘condemn such violence.’



No thumbnail available

St Petersburg holds gay culture festival despite ban

Russian campaigners want fourth Queer Fest to be ‘twice as big’ in face of law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’
No thumbnail available

Australian senator to sue Malaysian newspaper

Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times edits senator's speech to sound anti-Islamic and criticises his support of LGBT rights
No thumbnail available

Looking star Russell Tovey's comments on effeminate men ignites backlash

Actor Alec Mapa among his critics: 'He's glad he's not effeminate? Well the feeling is mutual lady, I'm glad I'm not you
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Liverpool Pride sets 2012 date despite cuts

Liverpool Pride organisers say the festival will return in 2012 despite city funding cuts.
No thumbnail available

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper comes out as gay

News reporter says he is 'gay' and 'proud' after publicly announcing his sexuality for the first time
No thumbnail available

Trans women suing Forever 21 after boss claimed she 'worked harder as a man'

Alexia Daskalakis claims that her manager told her that she is still a man 'in the company's eyes'
No thumbnail available

Trans groom marries trans bride in Scotland

Felix and Helen celebrated their marriage this weekend as Britain's first-known transgender couple wedding
No thumbnail available

Mary Portas' pregnant partner breaks ankle days before due date

Fashion editor Melanie Rickey to be operated on after 'blacking out' and falling
No thumbnail available

‘Marriage equality could lead to bestiality’ senator falls further

An Australian senator who warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to moves to recognize sexual relationships between people and animals has suffered more fallout as a result of his comments