The Maltese government is to blame for the assassination of a journalist.
According to a public inquiry, Malta should accept responsibility for the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia because it created a “climate of impunity” that put her life in danger.
The assassination of Caruana Galizia, who exposed cronyism and sleaze among Malta’s political and commercial elite, in October 2017 caused international outrage and protests, forcing former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign.
In a 437-page report, a panel of three judges concluded that, despite the lack of evidence of government involvement, Muscat and his entire previous cabinet should be held accountable.
According to Maltese news media on Thursday, the investigation, which took nearly two years to prepare, stated, “The state should take responsibility for the assassination.”
According to the Times of Malta, “it fostered an atmosphere of impunity, emanating from the highest echelons of the administration… the tentacles of which subsequently spread to other institutions, such as the police and regulatory authorities, resulting to a collapse in the rule of law.”
Caruana Galizia, 53, has been dubbed a “one-woman Wikileaks” by the press.
The writer was recognized for investigating high-level wrongdoing and was a contributor to the data dump known as the Panama Papers in 2016.
The panel’s findings validated her family’s conviction that “her assassination was a direct outcome of the collapse of the rule of law and the impunity that the State offered to the corrupt network she was reporting on,” according to her relatives.
“We hope that its conclusions will result in the restoration of the rule of law in Malta, adequate protection for journalists, and an end to the impunity enjoyed by the corrupt authorities probed by Daphne,” they stated.
The state failed to safeguard Caruana Galizia, according to the panel, and she was subjected to personal insults and verbal abuse from politicians.
The environment established a “favorable climate” for her killing, and there was “convincing evidence” that her assassins knew they would be shielded by “high-ranking state officials.”
Muscat resigned in January 2020, following public outrage and demonstrations over his alleged efforts to shield friends and associates from the probe.
Three men have been charged in connection with the murder so far, with one of them receiving a 15-year term in February.
Keith Schembri, Muscat’s former chief of staff, was charged with corruption, fraud, and money laundering in March.
He maintains his innocence.
Muscat stated the prompt arrest of the alleged hitmen followed Caruana Galizia’s death in a lengthy statement on Facebook in response to the inquiry’s report. Brief News from Washington Newsday.