Saturday, 21 July

EU Urges Malta to Engage International Forces in investigating Journalist's Killing



European Union leaders have called on Malta to thoroughly investigate into the killing of the country's prominent journalist at the same time the EU parliament plans debate on media freedom and protection of journalists on the island, news agency Reuters reported.

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US and Dutch forensics experts have come to assist Malta authorities probing the car bomb attack that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In the meantime, a European Council meeting was hastily organized in Brussels Thursday during which some EU members states, such as Germany, France, Spain and Portugal, urged the country to involve foreign investigators in the conduct of their investigations.

According to newspaper The Telegraph, the first findings revealed that the journalist' vehicle was packed with Semtex, a plastic explosive, which was probably detonated by a mobile phone signal.

Investigators believe the murderer may have been located so as to be able to see the car and trigger the explosion when it was far enough from other houses. Further analysis may allow them to determine the precise location of the bomber.

Motives behind the attack remain unknown. The journalist's harsh critics had particularly targeted Malta's political officials. But, as the Maltese member of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister Alfred Sant stressed, drug and human trafficking activities were also in her line of fire.

Further, Italian mafia has also been pointed out as potentially behind the murder since Caruana Galizia had alleged that Maltese online gambling companies were laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking for the mafia. Ties between the Camorra mafia and online betting activities in the island have been outlined by Italian authorities.

The three sons of the journalist said that no matter the investigation's outcomes, the government has failed to properly address entrenched corruption. They consequently demanded the resignation of Prime minister Joseph Muscat and refused to endorse a US$ 1.5 million reward offered by the Maltese government.

"The Prime Minister asked for our endorsement. This is how he can get it: show political responsibility and resign. Resign for failing to uphold our fundamental freedoms. Resign for watching over the birth of a society dominated by fear, mistrust, crime and corruption. Resign for working to cripple our mother financially and dehumanize her so brutally and effectively that she no longer felt safe walking down the street,” Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia wrote on Facebook.

“Then we won’t need a million-euro reward and our mother wouldn’t have died in vain,” they added.

“Justice, beyond criminal liability, will only be served when everything that our mother fought for – political accountability, integrity in public life and an open and free society – replaces the desperate situation we are in., ” they also said.

The EU Parliament planned a debate in the coming week on the protection of journalists and the defense of media freedom in Malta.

“Malta is a Mecca for money launderers and tax avoiders,” Greens EU legislator Sven Giegold said, newspaper The Wire reported.

“Malta’s center of power suffers from a culture of impunity unlike hardly any other country in the EU. Europe must no longer turn a blind eye to the way in which the rule of law is flouted in Malta, ” he added.

occrp.org


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