Tuesday, January 24, 2012, by Claudia Calleja
Two teenage brothers, who allegedly attacked a young lesbian couple because of their sexual orientation, will soon appear in court to face charges of assaulting and injuring the girls, the police said.
Charges were formally issued against the boys, who have been summoned to turn up in court to face the charges in an upcoming Ħamrun district sitting.
In an interview published in The Sunday Times, a 16-year-old lesbian – who went by the pseudonym of Amy – recounted how she was sitting on a bench with her girlfriend in a Ħamrun square when the two young men attacked them.
The incident took place on January 13 and allegedly started when the boys started hurling insults at the girls from a nearby balcony. They called them “lesbians” and “twisted” and went down into the square.
The 16-year-old girl ended up at a health centre with a fractured nose, a grazed face and bruises on her breasts. Her girlfriend got away with a bruise to the head and scratches on her wrists which she sustained when pushed to the ground.
Replying to questions sent on Thursday, the police yesterday said the boys were going to be taken up to court. Police sources later confirmed the charges had been issued and included assaulting and injuring the girls.
The charges were issued about three days after the incident, that is, before the story was published.
The incident was condemned by organisations including Malta Gay Rights Movement and human rights lobby Aditus who jointly called for the concept of gay hate crime to be included in Maltese law.
The only legal protection gay people have refers to discrimination in terms of harassment. The part of the law that speaks about hate crime is limited to racial hatred. Last year the Justice Minister announced there were plans to extend this to include homophobia.
On Sunday, a Facebook group, called The Amy Initiative, was set up and also called for Maltese law to include hate crime on the basis of sexual orientation.
Yesterday, the incident was also condemned by The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality that called for respect towards diversity.
Labour Party spokesman for civil rights Evarist Bartolo joined the call for more legal protection for gay people saying that all forms of bullying had to stop.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]