Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Update: 02 Dec 2019 State replied
Year 17 Oct 2017 Country Malta Category Impunity for murder Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , PEN , RPT , RSF Alert level Level 1
17 Oct 2017 Malta Impunity for murder Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , PEN , RPT , RSF Level 1

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been murdered on 16 October 2017, around 3pm, by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was known for her investigative journalism and her blog 'Running Commentary', which was one of the most widely read websites in Malta. In 2016, she was named by Politico as one of the “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, after being the first to break news of Maltese politicians’ involvement in the Panama Papers scandal. The journalist had been sued many times for her blog posts in which she revealed several alleged corruption scandals involving Maltese politicians. In February 2017, her bank accounts were frozen and libel suits were filed against her by Maltese Economy Minister and his consultant, following a report revealing that both men visited a brothel during an official trip in Germany. According to media report, Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she was being threatened.

Updates

28 Nov 2019 : On 26 November 2019, Keith Schembri, the Maltese prime minister’s chief of staff and Konrad Mizzi, the country’s tourism minister, have resigned following the political turmoil surrounding the latest developments in the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. On the same day, Economy Minister Chris Cardona announced he was "suspending himself with immediate effect from his position as minister, pending the investigations”. Schembri’s resignation followed reports that Yorgen Fenech, the businessman arrested on 20 November in connection with the murder was preparing to make allegations against Schembri. According to media reports, Keith Schembri was taken to police headquarters for questioning in relation to the case, and police entered one of his properties. Mr Fenech was released on police bail without charge for the third time in a week on 26 November. He is seeking a pardon in exchange for further information about the crimes.
21 Nov 2019 : On 20 November 2019, Malta police arrested Yorgen Fenech, one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, as part of an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech was detained after his yacht was intercepted and searched.
18 Nov 2019 : On 15 November 2019, the Government announced that two members of the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia were replaced following the concerns about their impartiality raised by the late journalist’s family.
31 Oct 2019 : On 31 October 2019, the partner organisations of the Platform decided to transfer this alert to the category of ‘impunity for murder’, based on their assessment of the lack of sufficient progress in the investigation of this case.
23 Sep 2019 : On 20 September 2019, the Maltese government ordered a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, following up on a June 2019 PACE resolution demanding the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
17 Jul 2019 : On 16 July 2019, three suspects were formally charged over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, were arrested in December 2017. The public prosecutor now has 20 months to set a date for the trial.
12 Jul 2019 : On 11 July 2019, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Global Media Freedom conference in London, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta Carmelo Abela, responding to the demand of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to set up an independent public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, confirmed that the government will open such an inquiry within the next three months.
06 Dec 2017 : On 4 December 2017 the Maltese police arrested ten suspects over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. On 5 December, three of them were charged with the journalist`s murder, as well as with criminal use of explosives, being involved in organised crime, and criminal conspiracy.

State replies

17 Oct 2017 : Reply of the Maltese authorities

Follow-ups

02 Dec 2019 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes new indictment in murder case of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
29 Nov 2019 : Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urges the Maltese government to ensure the independence of the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia
17 Oct 2019 : “The Government of Malta remains far behind in its obligation to ensure that investigations in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia are conducted in a prompt, effective, independent and impartial manner” said Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the occasion of the anniversary of the journalist's murder.
04 Oct 2019 : PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights invites the Maltese authorities to address the issues raised by Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt concerning the terms of reference for the independent public inquiry as a matter of urgency.
04 Oct 2019 : PACE Rapporteur considers that "Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry in Malta ‘does not meet the Assembly’s expectations’ ". Statement by Pieter Omtzigt
23 Sep 2019 : PACE rapporteur on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta welcomes decision to set up inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
23 Sep 2019 : Public inquiry into death of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta must be fully independent and yield justice, states OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
27 Jun 2019 : On 26 June 2019, PACE adopted the resolution on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and demanded the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
27 Jun 2018 : Pieter Omtzigt, who is preparing a report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta, has been authorised by PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee to receive information from anonymous sources and to protect the identity of anyone who provides such information.
24 Apr 2018 : PACE to monitor investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia
25 Jan 2018 : PACE adopts a motion for a resolution 'Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law, in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges'
25 Jan 2018 : PACE appointed General Rapporteur on Media Freedom & the protection of journalists will make his first inquiry into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
18 Oct 2017 : APCE president strongly condemns the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana
17 Oct 2017 : Shocked by the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Commissioner for Human Rights calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.
17 Oct 2017 : CoE Secretary General appalled by the brutal death of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, in a car bombing, calls for a thorough investigation to find those responsible for her death.
17 Oct 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative outraged by killing of prominent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, urges thorough investigation'

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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