The Times has an aching heart regarding  solitary confinement in prison

The Times has qualms of conscience that there are prisoners in jail who are kept in solitary confinement at Corradino Prison. According to The Times, these are convicted criminals found guilty by the Court. We even had a recent case when the Court sentenced a condemned prisoner to a yearly period in solitary confinement.  

However, it is appropriate to mention here that Yorgen Fenech spent some time in solitary confinement after being arrested and the courts denied bail. Yes, Yorgen Fenech was kept in solitary confinement for Five Weeks, far more than the law states; the maximum period is 10 days! And in the Fenech case, all this happened even if he is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Magistrate Rachel Montebello presiding the Compilation of Evidence denied him bail and carried on doing so even during the period that he was being kept in a cell in solitary!

On this particular case of solitary confinement, not one journalist has commented.  All have remained silent even though this man has to be considered innocent according to the law until proven guilty. All journalists were aware that Fenech was in solitary including those who keep writing about the tough conditions existing in prison. Nonetheless, not one had the guts to mention Fenech’s situation in prison while in solitary confinement. Instead, all have so far colluded and even lobbied that he be not granted bail, making him out to be the mastermind behind the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia when this is far from fact.

Does one know the true meaning of solitary confinement? It means that an individual is kept in an empty cell, without a bed, sleeps on the floor, with a light on day and night. The room is completely bare. Not even water. Water is passed on to you in a glass. No toilet facility of any sort, except a hole in the floor. And just like Yorgen Fenech’s case, one can only leave the cell for 30 minutes a day.

But out of the blue, we now have The Times of Malta coming out with an aching heart on the subject of solitary confinement. The paper is right to speak up in the hope that judges and magistrates will not carry on handing down such harsh sentences. But magistrates, in particular, should be more prudent when those arrested have not yet been found guilty and are put in solitary confinement. And all the more should they refrain from denying bail to those accused but still to be tried and sentenced by the Superior Courts.

After all, one would expect The Times of Malta always to be objective. All the more so on such a serious topic. It should not confine its writing to suit its private agenda.

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