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Government to tighten laws against hate crime

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said today that he had instructed Justice Minister Chris Said to embark on a consultation process to see whether the laws to prevent hate crime could be strengthened.

In a statement this afternoon, Dr Gonzi said he was speaking because there had been two incidents over the past three weeks which could have been motivated by homophobia.

The two cases, he said, were still being investigated and subject to court proceedings, but if homophobia was proved, this would be very worrying.

The country had to respect the dignity of all people, independently of one's colour, belief or orientation.

He said society should not judge individual persons and the laws had to be enforced.

The two cases referred to by the prime minister was an assault on two girls in Hamrun and, last Friday, an incident on a bus in Floriana.

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