Investigative Journalist’s Killers Avoid Justice

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Investigative Journalist’s Killers Avoid Justice

By Sara Momin, Assistant Community & World News Editor

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Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of the top investigative journalists in Malta, was murdered by a planted car bomb in October, which blasted only mere moments after she left the following post on her blog:

“There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.”

According to former Home Affairs Minister Louis Galea, Galizia was “one of Malta’s most important, visible, fearless journalists”. Thousands read her reports, and thousands more attended her vigil. After more than 15 assassination attempts on the 53-year-old journalist, this one, unfortunately, succeeded. The nation’s government, which has been scolded a multitude of times in Galizia’s investigations, surprisingly helped to investigate and arrest the gang of criminals who planned the murder. And not surprisingly, with a delayed reaction of almost two months, the police finally released a list of suspects. But it still doesn’t bring security to the people of the small Mediterranean country, who have already one of the supporting columns in the building of justice.

Galizia’s family has barred political officials from attending vigils or participating in the investigation efforts, due to concerns that they could alter the evidence. Some officers have already been seen celebrating her death, although they were later suspended. Many of Galiza’s followers are considering that one of the officials hired the suspects to plant the bomb due to the lack of motive from the two brothers, and their companion, who were arrested as the prime suspects. Instead, they allowed EU officials, who previously arrested many corrupt Maltese leaders who were exposed by Galizia herself, to lead in the investigation. Although the family tried to keep the integrity of the investigation, the third magistrate has just been appointed due to recursions. The trials can only start until a magistrate chooses to make the suspects stand trial, therefore, these increased delays, combined with Malta’s already corrupt law system, is slowly guaranteeing the freedom of the three suspects.

In response to the murder, Maltese citizens increased their outcries about freedom of expression and the rule of law on the island. Opposition has already started, and the leaders of these organizations state that they don’t have faith in the police anymore. Previous, unsuccessful, attacks on Galiza continue to be unsolved, the suspects eluding arrest and prosecution. The people accuse the police chief of ignoring crime inside, and outside of the government, and the quick arrests without a clear direction only makes the citizens increasingly disgusted by the investigation. The fact that these murders could be set free in 20 days due to the detainment policy chills many citizens to the bone, and causes worry for future responses to crimes, especially since Galizia has died.

Galizia was already a respectable martyr figure, even before her death. Her popular blog “Running Commentary” was very influential within Maltian politics. Politico actually described her as a “a one-woman WikiLeaks, crusading against corruption in Malta.” She was also named as one of the top 28 people to influence the world. One of her biggest accomplishments was the Panama Papers, which accused a majority of the political leaders of receiving bank payments from the ruling family of Panama. It was so influential that her blog actually sped up elections after the current prime minister was accused of being involved. Now that she has died, chaos has ensued within the government, because they are trying to maintain a image of fairness to the watching eyes of the EU, but only a few people are there to enforce it. Currently, there is no vigilante that has replaced Galiza’s role, and until there is one, the government will continue to be chaotic and corrupt.

During her investigations, she received more tip offs than any other new organization, due to her long years of success. She first got involved in politics at the young age of 18, and got arrested due to her participation in a protest against the government. During the ’90s, she worked with multiple newspapers, alongside her personal blog, which was surprisingly independent of political parties, or finances. As her popularity increased, so did her influence, and soon, articles on her blog became sure told signs of resignations and apologies from top leaders. Multiple people, such as previous police commissioners and prime ministers were forced to resign by the increased scrutiny created by her articles. These same articles now prevent a trial because she has exposed every political figure in Malta, and although the trial will be jury ruled, the sheer amount of people Galizia has accused leave no one without a grudge against her.