Malta: Lesbian assault victims ‘to be charged with breaching peace’

The lesbian victims of an assault in Malta which led the prime minister to promise gay hate crime laws now face charges themselves for breaching the peace, reports said today.

The young women were dancing in the Fra Diegu square in Hamrun, a town in central Malta when the incident took place.

Two brothers were then arrested and charged.

But Natasha-Leah Davis and Roxanne Micallef will now appear in court beside their alleged attackers after the latter told police the lesbians had been breaching the peace, Malta Today reports.

Luke and Carlo Debono are due to appear in court with Mary Aquilina, who was also allegedly involved.

Following a second attack against two lesbians who had been kissing on a bus, Malta’s prime minister stepped in last week to announce the creation of new hate crime laws that would encompass homophobia.

At a press conference, Prime Minister Gonzi said: “We are sending a message to society in general, not to pass judgement of people, and that we expect the forces of law to enforce laws and eliminate all forms of discrimination.”

In an interview with Malta’s Sunday Times after the attack, one of the girls claimed attackers called her and her girlfriend “twisted” before and left her with bruises and facial injuries.

She said: “It was a horrible experience… All of a sudden one of the boys picked me up and punched me in my eye… He grabbed me my breasts then head-butted my nose and threw me onto the ground, grabbed my hair and pulled me across the ground.”

The Malta Gay Rights Movement said a 2003 study showed one in every 10 gay people on the two main Maltese islands are subjected to some form of violence because of their sexual orientation.

Poovan Devasagayam 
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