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Malta launches public inquiry into murder of journalist Daphne Caurana Galizia

The Maltese government has launched an independent public inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, nearly two years after her death.

It follows pressure from the reporter’s surviving family and press freedom groups to find those responsible for ordering her killing. Three men charged with her murder are yet to be put on trial.

Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed by a car bomb near her home in Mosta, Malta, in October 2017. She had been investigating money laundering and corruption in the country at the time.

Reporters Without Borders UK bureau director Rebecca Vincent, whose organisation has petitioned for an inquiry, said its creation is “long overdue” and an “essential step towards justice”.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has appointed Judge Michael Mallia to preside over the inquiry, which is set to conclude within nine months.

Constitutional expert Professor Ian Refalo and forensic expert Dr Anthony Abela Medici have also been appointed to the inquiry’s board.

However, Caruana Galizia’s family have raised concerns over board members’ proximity to government and previous investigations into her death, and have called for a meeting with Muscat.

“For the public inquiry to be in compliance with our laws, it must be truly independent, impartial and have the trust of all parties,” they said in a statement.

“Malta has been denied truth and justice for two years. It cannot wait any longer.”

The comments prompted Malta to issue a further statement defending the board of inquiry members, saying “no criticism was made with regards to the terms of reference”.

Vincent said a public inquiry that lacks independence and impartiality “will fool no one”, adding: “The goal remains full justice for this heinous assassination.

“We will remain vigilant and scrutinise the composition and actions of the board of inquiry, and act to hold the Maltese government to account for its international obligations.”

Picture: AP Photo/Jon Borg/File

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