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  • Writer's pictureSideStreet Malta

Ħal Far Detainees Beaten and Thrown Into Solitary Confinement - Report

Detainees who are residents at the so-called Ħal Far ‘China House’ have told their lawyers that they were handcuffed, beaten and placed in solitary confinement.

In a report which appeared in the Sunday Times, an Egyptian man is claiming he was stripped to his boxers and put in solitary confinement for refusing food that was not gluten-free, whilst a Moroccan national is claiming to have been handcuffed and beaten up by an officer after complaining about living conditions.

The Egyptian spent four days in solitary, sleeping on the concrete floor in a room with no shower. The Moroccan man told his lawyer that he begged the guard to stop hitting him, but he just continued.

“I tried covering my face. I begged him to stop but he hit more. I cried with all my might as I was shocked. I had done nothing wrong, and I was scared he would hurt me. The other securities didn’t do anything.”

When contacted, the Home Affairs Ministry told the Times of Malta that confinement is allowed by law when a detainee poses a risk to himself or other detainees. Such confinement is temporary and must be authorised by the detention services management or a medical practitioner, a spokesperson said.

According to their lawyer, however, the two detainees did not pose any risk to themselves or others. Nevertheless, the spokesperson has said that the detention service would investigate tangible information on alleged wrongdoing shared with management.

Aditus when asked for comment by the Times of Malta said that custodial facilities should have clear rules on how detained people are treated. These include guarantees of oversight of disciplinary measures through, among others, a register on the use of solitary confinement and other forms of punishment, and the possibility to appeal decisions and make complaints.

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