Today’s arraignments: a mise-en-scene Hollywood movie style

What is going on on this island of Calypso? The media reports started from early morning putting the heat on these long drawn out issues of money laundering and corruption. In reality, all this was quite unnecessary. The Police and the mainstream media have chosen once again to become the witch hunters of the mid 16th and 17th century in their modus operandi.

While congratulating the police for investigating and eventually prosecuting whoever is allegedly involved in  money laundering, at the same time the police are opposing bail indiscriminately without taking into consideration each individual case.

This is tantamount to modern day torture. Torture comes in many forms. Today’s denial of bail is another form of torture especially when some of those involved are also individuals who clearly are not directly responsible. The on going performance through the day was like a Hollywood move worth an Oscar.

This brings to mind Cesare Beccaria’s book on Crimes and Punishment dated 1764 which is still valid to this day. The fact that there was a blanket refusal to grant bail also reminds me of Foucault’s book on Discipline and Punishment. As Foucault rightly envisaged a few decades back, European society was moving towards becoming what he terms as a ‘punitive society’. This is precisely Malta’s situation today, where individuals are being thrown into prison despite the fact they have not yet been proven guilty of the crime they are being accused on the premise that they are a threat to police investigations. In frankness, this borders on the absurd, when one considers that the police should have been investigating these individuals for a number of years!

In 1973, Foucault delivered a series of lectures at the College de France, where he analyzed the relation between justice and truth. He concluded that modern governments and the judiciary had ‘forged’ penal laws so that they could introduce what he terms ‘a new punitive regime’.  According to this philosopher, the punitive regime was already present in France in 1970s. We are now finding this punitive behaviour in Malta today! . 

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