Malta journalist 'threatened for years'

2 months ago
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Malta journalist 'threatened for years'


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Media captionPaul Caruana Galizia says his mother's critics investigated her murder

The family of murdered Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is demanding an independent public inquiry because she had suffered years of intimidation.

She was killed by a car bomb near her home in October. Her widely-read blog accused top politicians of corruption.

One of her sons, Paul, said three pet dogs were killed and attempts were made to burn down the journalist's home.

Malta has said it is doing all it can to bring the killers to justice.

"Our pet dogs were killed - poisoned, throat slit, poisoned again," said Paul Caruana Galizia.

"We grew up with this and it was no secret that my mother received these threats," he told the BBC.

The family's London-based lawyers have set out their demands in a legal document, submitted to the Maltese government on Thursday.

The legal document, seen by the BBC, urges Malta to set up a "public inquiry into the question of whether Malta breached its protective obligation" under Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights.

That article says "everyone's right to life shall be protected by law". Malta, like all other EU member states, has signed the convention.

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Image caption There have been rallies in Malta demanding justice in the Caruana Galizia case

Three suspects - brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and their friend Vince Muscat - were arrested during a police operation in December.

They were charged with murder, and pleaded not guilty at a court hearing. They remain in custody.

No closure for bereaved

The family's lawyers say a public inquiry "must be truly independent of the Maltese police, government and politicians". They recommend the appointment of a panel including respected international judges.

Paul Caruana Galizia said such an inquiry must take place, to provide a "full and complete picture" of the circumstances surrounding his mother's death.

"Until you can stop asking 'Could we have done anything differently? Could the state have done anything differently?' then you feel like you can't grieve," he said.

He said the Maltese state must find out if his mother's death could have been prevented. Failure to do so could leave other investigative journalists at risk, he said.

UN pressure on Malta

Last October, four UN human rights experts urged Malta to conduct a "thorough and independent public inquiry" into the journalist's murder.

They said it was "crucial that the government - indeed all governments - devote resources to protect journalists and activists" engaged in investigative reporting.

Caruana Galizia's anti-corruption blog mainly attacked ruling Labour Party politicians and their supporters, but sometimes also officials of the centre-right Nationalist Party.

She alleged that the wife of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was the beneficial owner of a secret Panama company used to channel funds from Azerbaijan's ruling Aliyev family.

Mr Muscat and his wife vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Source :
www.bbc.co.uk