Three charged over murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Posted at 4:53 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 06:53:36-04

Three men have been formally charged over the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose reporting exposed corruption within political circles in Malta, police confirmed to CNN.

Vincent Muscat and brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, who had been detained since December 2017, were indicted Tuesday, the Maltese government said in a statement.

The men are accused of affixing a bomb to Caruana Galizia’s car and detonating it on October 16, 2017.

According to Reuters, the indictment comes days before the 20-month deadline in Maltese law that requires suspects who have not been formally committed to be granted bail. All three suspects have pleaded not guilty during pre-trial proceedings, the news agency said.

It is unclear when a trial will be held, but Agence France-Presse reported that the public prosecutor now has an extra 20 months to set a date.

Caruana Galizia led the investigation into the Panama Papers and exposed corruption in the highest reaches of Malta’s society and politics.

In her last blog post, which was published the day she died, Caruana Galizia wrote: “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”

Caruana Galizia’s vehicle exploded soon after she left her home in Bidnija, close to the town of Mosta. Evidence in court suggested that the bomb had been detonated by a cell phone, Reuters reported.

Family says Caruana Galizia was ‘targeted’

The 53-year-old’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, previously said his mother had been “assassinated” because of her work uncovering alleged corruption in the Maltese government.

He said Caruana Galizia had been “targeted,” and added that a “culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government in Malta.”

Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who was a frequent subject of Caruana Galizia’s reporting, condemned her assassination, previously telling CNN that “no Prime Minister would want a journalist to be murdered under any circumstances.”

“In the course of her work she made many enemies, whether in organized crime, business, government or among the general public,” Muscat said in the statement.

“Allegations of organized threats or harassment against Daphne Caruana Galizia or her family are wholly false. My family and I were at the center of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s politically motivated attacks, but we did not respond to her provocations.”