In a letter sent to MEPs, mostly from the liberal Renew Europe, Evarist Bartolo sought to block a parliamentary question in the European Parliament before it was even submitted. The news comes from a report by Nello Scavo in Italy’s l’Avvenire.

In the letter, seen by this website, Evarist Bartolo quotes the Joe Mifsud inquiry saying that “the Maltese PM and the Armed Forces were cleared of any wrongdoing”. He quotes Magistrate Mifsud’s remarks that “several facts contrasted sharply with the allegations made by Repubblika, Avvenire, The New York Times and The Guardian, particularly the details that relied on tweets and press releases of the NGO Alarm Phone”.

The letter written by Joe Mifsud’s erstwhile mentor, and now Foreign Affairs Minister insists that “Malta has carried out its obligations in Search and Rescue”.

But neither Joe Mifsud’s inquiry, nor the Foreign Minister have an explanation for how 12 people were allowed to die in Malta’s search and rescue area. The inquiry refused to interview survivors and relied instead on the account of the sailors of the Mae Yemenja, hired for the job by the Maltese government.

Nor was any account given for the illegal pushback of migrants out of Malta’s search and rescue area and back to Libya and in another case which is the subject of a dispute with Italy, the pushout at gunpoint of migrants from Malta’s territorial waters who were put by Malta’s army on route to Sicily.

Criminal investigations on the AFM’s conduct in that episode have been opened in Ragusa and Siracusa and this website is informed other criminal investigations are planned elsewhere in Italy.

The use of Magistrate Mifsud’s inquiry by the government to absolve itself of any wrongdoing continues to illustrate the real purpose of Joe Mifsud’s inquiry. It even underlines the purpose of his appointment to the judiciary in the first place: for when just this sort of occasion arises.

In the meantime Repubblika is waiting for Attorney General’s Peter Grech’s decision on whether to send the inquiry back to Joe Mifsud in order to properly complete his investigation and establish the facts using all evidence available, including the evidence he has discarded.