Karmnu Psaila was Maltese by birth and a British subject who
traveled to Libya in 1921 to start and life with his wife Vittoria.
He owned a barber shop in the shopping district of Suk el
Turk in Tripoli. Life was good for the fourteen years he lived
in Tripoli until he started talking against Mussolini,
the Italian ruler of Libya at the time.
In the beginning of 1936, he was being observed by officers
who later confirmed that every morning between 5:30 am to
7, Psaila spent his time at the Café Italia, in the Piazza dell-
Orologio, reading the Italian newspapers among them the
“Avvenire di Tripoli” and commenting unfavorably in public
on every item of news, which had a ring of victory for the
Fascist Italy. Psaila, made the same comments to his clients and
to the neighboring shopkeepers. Psaila was in the habit of
disparaging Italy and to make matters worse he continued to
an increasing degree his inexplicable aversion to Italians. Later
having become aware that he was being watched, Psaila placed
small notices on the mirrors of his shop requesting his clients
not to speak of political matters. Too little to late I suppose
because soon after that he found himself before a special
tribunal being accused of, in the time of war, spreading
exaggerated and tendentious with the object of depressing the
public spirit and engaged in activities likely to cause harm to
the national, vilifying the Italian, making use of insulting
expressions followed by acts of scorn.
There is no doubt in regard to his guilt. All the witnesses were
in the position to give evidence in detail regarding the facts.
The fate of Psaila was made quite clear. After
deliberation, the Court found Psaila guilty for the crime of
political defeatism. He was sentenced to three years and eight
months imprisonment. The Court also ordered that Psaila, on
the conclusion of his sentence, should be expelled from the
territory of the State.