Police must investigate Malta's PM, says family of slain reporter

Elias Hubbard
December 3, 2019

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Sunday told the nation that he would resign next month, following pressure from angry citizens for the truth about the 2017 auto bombing that killed a journalist pursuing corruption.

Her family wants Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to step down immediately and allow an investigation into her death.

Hours earlier, almost 20,000 Maltese protested outside a courthouse in the capital, Valletta, demanding that he step down in the largest such turnout of almost daily protests in recent weeks.

Police on Saturday charged one of the small Mediterranean island's wealthiest businessmen, Yorgen Fenech, with complicity in the killing.

Caruana Galizia's son Andrew told Al Jazeera he hoped that it could be a real turning point for the country. "But this is unnecessary", he said as the police insisted family members move behind the increasing number of barriers being placed around the square to prevent people from getting close to the Prime Minister's Office. "Because government ministers have been trapped here - though we are hearing that the prime minister himself may have escaped".

Malta's political elite has been shaken as the murder inquiry picked up pace in recent days, more than two years after the crusading investigative journalist was assassinated by a vehicle bomb.

Earlier on Monday, Muscat defended his government's handling of the murder investigation and called for national unity after days of protests over a case that has stunned Malta. "The case showed that Malta's institutions work and everyone is equal before the law", he said. Footage on social media showed the crowd booing as MPs entering the building, or chanting "assassins, resign now".

Schembri has said he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

In a packed schedule for a two-day visit, MEPs will be meeting government officials as well as the Attorney General, the Police Commissioner and investigators assigned to the investigation into the journalist's assassination.

The family's legal letter, drafted in Maltese and first reported by the Times of Malta, also urged authorities to ensure all relevant evidence was preserved, amid fears vital documents could be destroyed.

Muscat's former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, was allegedly linked to the killing.

"Look at this photo", Caruana Galizia's sister told the police, holding up a photo of the journalist brutally killed in a vehicle bomb on 16 October 2017.

Both men had been suing Caruana Galizia for libel over allegations she made about their business deals.

Schembri was arrested last week, but released two days later, fuelling accusations of a cover-up.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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