A man has been fined €3,000 and given a suspended sentence, for saying that the attendees of the Gozo pride march should be bombed. 

Michael Leonard Paul Hammond commented under a Facebook post linked to the August event: "should bomb all u (sic) freaks".

His six-month jail term has been suspended for three years.

The judgement was handed down by a Maltese court on Tuesday.

In a statement, human rights advocacy group LGBTI+ Gozo, which filed the report with the assistance of lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic, said the verdict was another step towards members of the LGBTI community being able to express themselves without fear of prejudice and attack. 

“The organisation is a firm believer that our diverse, intersectional identities unite us and strengthen society as a whole,” the group said. It said such hate speech could not go "unnoticed, unreported or unchallenged". 

While saying that they strongly advocate for freedom of speech, LGBTI+ Gozo added that they also believe individuals must be held responsible for their rhetoric, with no space for oppressive behaviour, illegal practices or misinterpretation of facts. 

“LGBTI realities are valid and they are woven into the fabric of society,” they said. 

“This is why we keep on marching, it is why we have pride and it is why we keep on advocating for human lives and for the wellbeing of our shared community.”

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