EU's smallest state found responsible for assassination of journalist in damning inquiry

THE EU’s smallest state has been found responsible for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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Ms Galizia was an investigative journalist who reported on political events in Malta. Despite intimidation and threats, she continued to publish articles for decades and was arrested by the Malta Police Force on two occasions.

In 2017, the journalist was killed close to her home when a car bomb was detonated inside her vehicle.

Her death attracted widespread local and international condemnation and three men were arrested in connection with the car bomb attack.

Now, an inquiry into her assassination held the state responsible for her death.

In a 437-page report, the inquiry concluded a culture of impunity was created from the highest ranks of power within the state.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in 2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in 2017 (Image: Getty)

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb (Image: Getty)

According to the conclusions, the state failed to recognise the real and immediate danger to Ms Galizia’s life.

They were also found to have failed to take reasonable steps to avoid these risks.

The board held the evidence heard throughout the inquiry led to a conviction that her death was either intrinsically or directly linked to her investigative work.

Ms Galizia’s confrontation with the government reached its peak in 2016 following the publication of the Panama Papers.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in 2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated in 2017 (Image: Getty)

The board said it was obvious the journalist had extremely sensitive information which could have had a major impact on big businesses as well as the stability of the government.

They described it as a “confrontation that carried on escalating until the moment she was assassinated”.

After the 2013 election, former prime minister Joseph Muscat started referring to Ms Galizia as the “only opposition in the country”.

Despite her writings being substantially accurate, politicians launched scathing attacks on the journalist through verbal abuse as well as turning the screw on her finances.


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Former prime minister Joseph Muscat

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat (Image: Getty)

The board said: “It can never be acceptable for entities of the state to involve themselves or promote such happenings.

“The state has an obligation to defend in every possible way the lives of journalists, the fundamental right to free speech, even when a journalist expresses tough opinions against the government of the day.”

The inquiry also said steps must be taken to rein in and regulate the links between politicians and big businesses.

The board said Ms Galizia was critical of these administrative failures and the intimacy between big businesses and the government.

Protests erupted following the assassination of the journalist

Protests erupted following the assassination of the journalist (Image: Getty)

It said: “It was inevitable that as soon as a journalist mounted a full-frontal and credible attack on these two centres of power; it led to a direct confrontation with those in power who were involved.”

The explosion left the vehicle which Ms Galizia was driving scattered in several pieces across nearby fields.

Ms Galizia was in the driver’s seat at the time of the assassination but her body was found by her son, Matthew, 80 metres away from the blast site.

The Malta government found to be responsible for her death

The Malta government found to be responsible for her death (Image: Getty)

Writing on Facebook at the time, Matthew said: “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me.”

Her death marked the sixth car-bombing in Malta since the beginning of 2016 and the fourth fatality.

Ms Galizia’s home had not been under police guard since 2010, except during elections.

Police said her protection was further weakened after the Labour Party returned to power in 2013.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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