Friday, 15 December, 2017

Malta announces 10 arrests in journalist's bombing murder

Eight suspects arrested in assassination of Panama Papers journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta police arrest eight suspects over murder of journalist
Howard Terry | 05 December, 2017, 01:53

Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a vehicle bomb on 16th October. The European Commission has called on Malta to get to the bottom of the crime.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told reporters at a news conference that eight Maltese citizens were arrested Monday morning due to a "reasonable suspicion" of their involvement in Caruana Galizia's slaying.

Her son Matthew Caruana Galizia, who works for the International Consortium of Journalists that released the Panama Papers, has compared the political situation to a "mafia state".

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reported in October, Caruana Galizia's independently operated website "often drew more readers than the total circulation of Malta's newspapers".

She was well-known in the small island country for her popular blog, Running Commentary, where she highlighted alleged high-level corruption by politicians across party lines.

Her criticism was also levelled at Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his aides, who she accused of being linked to offshore companies and payments from the government of Azerbaijan. Shortly afterward, he tweeted that two others had been arrested.

Muscat provided no other concrete information about the arrests or suspects, citing concerns that anything he says could derail any prosecution. Farrugia said he wouldn't disclose anything because "I have been already threatened by legal action by the Caruana Galizia family".

Caruana Galizia's family reacted angrily to how the arrests were announced on Monday, saying police should have informed them before the prime minister.

The Mediterranean country observed a national day of mourning in her honor and has offered a 1-million-euro (1.19 million US dollar) reward for information about her murder.

Muscat "appears to view the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia's assassination as a marketing exercise for his government and not as a contract killing, which has left surviving family members wondering what happened and how justice can be truly served", the family said in a statement.

The family has lamented in the past of being kept in dark by the police as to the progress of the investigation.

As per Maltese law, police will now have 48 hours to interrogate the eight people before prosecuting them.

A court hearing is set for Tuesday.

Many top officials had sued her over her reporting.

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