Europe

Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta journalist's murder suspects to stand trial

People hold up photos of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a protest and vigil marking 21 months since her assassination, after three men were indicted for her murder, in Valletta, Malta, on 16 July 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Daphne Caruana Galizia was known for her popular anti-corruption blog

Three men are to stand trial in Malta for their alleged involvement in the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, officials say.

She was killed by a bomb planted under the seat of her car in 2017.

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and their friend, Vincent Muscat, were arrested in a massive police operation soon after the killing.

Caruana Galizia investigated several high-profile figures - including Maltese officials and politicians.

The three suspects pleaded not guilty during pre-trial proceedings.

The bill of indictment lists six accusations against the accused, including voluntary homicide, the possession and detonation of an explosive, as well as forming part of a criminal organisation.

The proceedings came just a few days before the 20-month deadline for suspects to be ordered to stand trial, or granted bail.

Prosecutors now have up to a maximum of 20 months to set a trial date for the men, the Times of Malta reports.

Caruana Galizia, 53, who was known for her blog accusing top politicians of corruption, was killed by a car bomb close to her home that was detonated by mobile phone in October 2017.

Nobody has been arrested for ordering the murder.

A recent report by the Council of Europe human rights watchdog strongly criticised Malta's authorities for failing to properly investigate the journalist's death.

The report said not enough had been done to ensure an independent investigation into her murder.

Her family has repeatedly called on Malta's government to hold an independent public inquiry into whether the government could have prevented her killing, given she had suffered years of intimidation.

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Media captionAndrew Borg Cardona: 'My friend has been killed there'

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