December 7, 2017

RSF reiterates call for independent probe into Maltese journalist’s murder

A suspect exits the Law Courts in Valletta, Malta on December 6, 2017, after being charged with the murder of blogger and journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia / AFP
Following this week’s announced arrests of ten suspects in Malta’s investigation into anti-corruption journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder on 16 October, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its call for a full and independent investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

Under European Union pressure for results, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced on 4 December that ten suspects had been arrested. They were the first arrests in the case, in which the government has been accused of both political interference and incompetence.

Caruana Galizia’s family has issued a statement expressing astonishment that the arrests were announced by the prime minister and not by the police, as should be the case in this kind of investigation.

The statement also draws attention to other irregularities, including the fact that the names of the suspects were released and that the magistrate who issued the arrest warrant was not the investigating magistrate in charge of the case.

The family also said it was concerned that “a number of people who could be implicated continue to receive political cover for crimes they are widely reported to have committed.” As there was no sign that the investigation was being conducted in an independent manner, the family would continue to demand an “independent and impartial investigation,” the statement added.

In the nearly two months since Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death, the authorities have been unable to show that they are conducting their investigation in an impartial manner, so we support the family’s request and we call for an independent international investigation to establish all the facts of her shocking murder,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk.

The murder of Caruana Galizia, who often accused both Maltese government and opposition of corruption on her blog, has raised EU concerns about the rule of law in Malta.

A European Parliament delegation tasked with examining the situation in Malta made an exploratory visit to the capital, Valetta, last week and confirmed its concerns on its return. There was also grave concern about the death threats made against members of the delegation ahead of the visit.

Malta is currently ranked 47th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.