Unesco decries Maltese reporter's murder

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Dutch forensic experts arrived on the island on Tuesday to aid the investigation.

Half an hour before the explosion tore into her auto, Galizia wrote on her blog: "There are crooks everywhere you look now".

The victim of an apparent auto bombing, Caruana Galizia died immediately.

The son of Malta's most famous investigative journalist, who was killed in a vehicle bomb close to her home, has accused the country's Prime Minister of complicity in her death.

In the wake of Galizia's death, PM Muscat released a statement denouncing her murder as a "barbaric attack on press freedom" and promised justice.

One of the topics she examined was the Maltese content in the Panama Papers leaked in 2016.

Mr Muscat and his wife Michelle denied having companies in Panama. "Daphne Caruana Galizia herself said she was threatened by people close to Delia".

Besides writing for The Malta Independent, she was a columnist for The Sunday Times in the early 1990s. Her English-language "Running Commentary" blog would often get more readers than all of the Maltese newspapers, for which she also occasionally wrote.

Half an hour before she was killed, she posted to her website an item about a libel claim the prime minister's chief of staff had brought against a former opposition figure over comments the latter made about corruption.

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Caruana Galizia studied at Catholic schools before she started working as a journalist in 1987.

Monday evening's parliamentary session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing given by Mr Muscat and Mr Delia, who called the reporter's killing a "political murder".

In June, Muscat was sworn in for a second term as prime minister following snap elections he had called to reinforce his government as the Panama Papers' leak indicated his wife owned an offshore company. She leaves a husband and three sons. One son, Matthew, was on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers scandal.

The younger Galizia said that Mifsud was supposed to be investigating the murder, and that his mother was killed "only for the people who are supposed to have protected you to instead be celebrating it".

"We will not accept an investigation by the commissioner of police, the army commander or the duty magistrate, all of whom were criticised by Caruana Galizia", he said. More recently she had expanded her criticism to include the opposition Nationalist Party.

The statement, signed by director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Sanjoy Hazarika, founder editor of Himal South Asia Kanak Mani Dixit, founding editor of The Wire Siddharth Varadarajan and others, asks the government of Malta to "energetically and urgently investigate the case so that the killers are identified, caught and prosecuted".

Casa said this situation could have been avoided if the European Commission acted months ago when it was notified on the "worrying" state of the rule of law in Malta.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani called the development a "tragic example of a journalist who sacrificed her life to search for the truth".

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