New York, July 30, 2021 – Maltese authorities “created an atmosphere of impunity, generated by the highest echelons” ahead of the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the results of a Maltese public inquiry into the journalist’s October 2017 killing found yesterday, according to news reports.
Caruana Galizia, who reported on alleged government corruption and the Panama Papers, was killed by a car bomb on October 16, 2017, according to CPJ research. In 2021, one man pleaded guilty to taking part in the killing and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Two other men allegedly involved in the killing and the alleged mastermind are in custody awaiting trial, according to reports.
“The public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia concluded that the journalist’s death could have been avoided if Maltese authorities took steps to fight the official corruption Caruana Galizia reported on. Instead, not only did they allow a culture of impunity to continue, but they hindered the investigation into her killing and agreed to the public inquiry only after pressure from the journalist’s family and the international community,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “Maltese authorities must take long-overdue steps to finally end impunity in Caruana Galizia’s murder and bring all perpetrators, including the masterminds, to justice.”
Joseph Muscat, Malta’s prime minister at the time of the murder, agreed to a public inquiry two years after the journalist’s assassination following pressure from her family and international organizations, the reports said. He was forced to resign in December 2019 because his close contacts were implicated in the killing in an investigation, according to reports.