Author: Claudia Calleja

One of two Turkish mothers appealing a controversial jail term that separated them from their young sons says her family has been left “completely broken”. Muzekka Deneri made the comments in a statement to Times of Malta, after she was jailed for six months last week for using forged travel documents. “My family is completely broken as I’m in prison in Malta. “My husband is in Greece and my four-year-old boy is placed at a children protection institution. We have not chosen this. This whole thing has been forced upon us,” 29-year-old Muzekka Deneri wrote in a statement sent to…

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A decision to jail two Turkish mothers for making use of forged passports – resulting in their young sons being placed in state care – “seriously infringes” Malta’s international legal obligations, a human rights expert has warned. The court’s decision to incarcerate for six months the two women, who say they fled their country to avoid harsh consequences because of their political beliefs, is serious and worrying on several levels, John Pace told Times of Malta. Pace is an international human rights law practitioner with over 50 years experience and served the United Nations in various capacities, including in Iraq…

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Two Turkish mothers who were jailed for six months for using forged passports – resulting in their young sons being placed in State care – have filed an appeal against the “disproportionate and excessive” punishment. The women, who are in the process of applying for asylum, will soon be applying for bail in the hope to be reunited with their sons – age two and four, explained their lawyers Gianluca Cappitta and Jason Grima. In the appeal, filed on Monday, the lawyers argued that the punishment was excessive in the circumstances. They said the women, Rabia Yavuz, 27, and Muzekka…

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Two small boys will have to live in state care after their Turkish mothers were jailed for six months for travelling using forged documents. Neither of the boys, aged two and four, speak Maltese or English and a team from government support agency Appoġġ is checking if they have any form of social network in Malta. The sentencing of the mothers has been criticised as “inhumane and unjust” by NGO Moviment Graffitti, which said the courts could have chosen a community-based sanction. Earlier this week, the two boys were heard wailing outside the courtroom as their mothers, Rabia Yavuz, 27,…

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A 14-year-old who allegedly stabbed a man in the chest in a Sliema apartment on Tuesday afternoon used a kitchen knife, according to a police spokesman. Police investigators are still trying to establish the link between the Maltese teenager and the 21-year-old alleged victim, who is of British origin and lives in Mosta. They are speaking to witnesses who were in the apartment when the stabbing occurred. Some of the eyewitnesses are believed to be children. On Tuesday afternoon, shortly after 4.30pm, police officers patrolling the area were informed that a young man had been stabbed. They spotted the 21-year-old…

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The pressure of working and schooling from home at the height of the pandemic caused some parents to become aggressive and neglectful towards their children, according to the director of Child Protection Services,  Steve Libreri. “During COVID, we met people who are usually not on our radar,” he said. “These include people from affluent backgrounds. COVID turned their life upside down, blurring the line between home and work. As these two worlds collided, the pressures increased. Parents who are not usually abusive started using stressed-out behaviour and got violent and neglectful. We had quite a number of these reports.” A…

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Another heatwave is expected to engulf the islands from Thursday, with temperatures set to reach between 37°C and 39°C, according to the Meteorological Office. The heatwave is expected to persist until at least Sunday, a spokesperson said. In June Malta experienced the first heatwave of the summer in what turned out to be one of the longest June heatwaves recorded on the island. It lasted 12 days with temperatures reaching a scorching 41.5°C. A heatwave is experienced when the mean monthly maximum temperature is exceeded by at least 5°C for three or more consecutive days. The mean maximum temperature for…

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As COVID-19 cases rise, so is anxiety among elderly people who are afraid they may “get locked inside again”.  There is a fear of “going back to square one” – to a life of isolation, devoid of social interaction and contact with loved ones, according to consultant psychiatrist Anton Grech, chairman of Malta’s Mental Health Services. “The virus pandemic is impacting us all in terms of mental health, but the elderly more so,” he said. RELATED STORIES “As the numbers rise again, bringing on the third wave of the pandemic that first started in March 2020, most people are anxious…

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A father who regularly takes his children to the Pembroke swings has expressed his concern about the number of syringes he finds in the vicinity. In recent months, Maurice Hancock has found dozens of syringes, the majority of which were just outside the playground and in the nearby carpark. “I’ve seen children pick up the needles and try to put them in their pocket. And the other day a needle got stuck in my shoe while walking back to the car from the playground,” he said, calling on the authorities to take action. Hancock – a father of three children…

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Seeds of imported indigenous plants sent out to 180,000 households are wrongly labelled “endemic” and, according to biodiversity specialist Alfred Baldacchino, risk contaminating the local gene pool. Ambjent Malta, the government agency coordinating the project, has admitted to a “misprint” in the Maltese version. However, it said the impact of the imported seeds on the local population of these wild plants would be “negligible”. In April, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said households would receive a mix of wildflower seeds and information on how to care for them in a bid to help conserve pollinators. The seeds originate from four native…

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