The Times – Friday, 8th January 2010

‘Obscene’ story editor to face charges
Christian Peregin

The 21-year-old editor who published a graphic piece of fiction about sexual violence is about to face a dose of harsh reality when he is arraigned on charges that carry a possible prison term.

Last October, Mark Camilleri, a University history student and editor of the leftist newspaper Ir-Realtà, published the now notorious short story in Maltese by novelist Alex Vella Gera called Li Tkisser Sewwi.

The newspaper was distributed at the University before being banned and reported to the police by Rector Juanito Camilleri.

The police yesterday confirmed the student would be charged for distributing obscene or pornographic material and for injuring public morals or decency, under both the Criminal Code and the Press Act.

For the Criminal Code charge he faces a prison term of up to six months and/or a fine of up to €465.87 while the Press Act contemplates a maximum of three months in prison and/or a fine.

The police said the case would be heard by Magistrate Audrey Demicoli but did not say when the arraignment would take place.

The 1,300-word story is a first-person narrative by a sex-craved Maltese man who speaks in very degrading and sexual terms about women, whom he treats like objects.

It received mixed reviews, with some saying it was insulting and offensive to women and others interpreting it as a story aimed at exposing this pathetic but prevalent mentality, as the author said he intended. Some also said the story was weak or unappealing but defended it in terms of free speech.

Mr Camilleri had said that if the issue went to court he would be prepared to go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of violation of fundamental human rights.

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