Inquiry called as Hungarian man spat at, slapped, then held by police, as he tried to control bus terminus queue

A Hungarian student who was trying to put some order in a chaotic queue of about 200 people waiting to register and top up their tallinja card at the Valletta terminus, ended up the victim of a racist attack.

Daboma Jack, a chemical engineer from Hungary, in Malta for a year to study his masters degree joined the queue at the bus terminus at about 10am, together with his wife.

After about an hour, with no sign of the queue budging, he took the initiative to convince people to queue in a single file. Most of the frustrated crowd cooperated with him and attempted a semblance of order.

Witnesses told Times of Malta, however, that at about 11.30am, a Maltese woman in the queue went up to Mr Jack and started shouting in his face: “Go back to your country! Go back to your country!” She then spat in his face twice.

Her comments are believed to have been motivated by the fact that Mr Jack is black. 

Taken aback, Mr Jack immediately reported the incident to the police, who however, failed to do anything.

The woman approached Mr Jack and slapped him in his face. At this point Mr Jack started shouting and called at the police to take action as this was a racist attack.

The police came and immediately pinned him down and handcuffed him. Meanwhile the woman, ran away.

Eyewitnesses immediately informed the police that Mr Jack was innocent and that he was not the one who initiated the disorder.

After the police took his details, a visibly shaken Mr Jack , said: “In no other country would someone have spat on a black man and the police do nothing.”

His wife, Kelly, who witnessed the whole scene, including the woman’s cries for them to go back home, told Times of Malta: “Go back where? We are EU citizens!”

“This is human rights we are talking about. The slap was not for my husband but for every other black person in the crowd," she said.

In a statement this afternoon, the Home Affairs Ministers said he instructed the Police Commissioner to launch an internal investigation into the matter with immediate effect.

Later, the police said an investigation was initiated by the Internal Affairs Unit to establish the facts leading to the incident.

In a statement, the Nationalist Party condemned the attack and said it would never allow discrimination or violence because of one's race or skin colour.

It encouraged the Police Commissioner to conclude the investigation as soon as possible for the truth to come out and for procedures to be taken against those guilt of a racist attack.

Non-governmental organisation Aditus posted a letter addressed to the police on its facebook site, which it is encouraging the public to copy and send, calling for the matter to be given its due attention and looking forward to progress updates.

Alternattiva Demokratika said the incident was cause of serious concern for the majority of Maltese peace loving and democratic people.

"There is no place for police officers who arrest people on the basis of their skin colour. We look forward to justice being meted out as soon as possible," it said.


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