Malta: Three suspects arrested over 2017 killing of journalist

MALTA-POLITICS-MEDIA-CRIME-ARREST

MALTA-POLITICS-MEDIA-CRIME-ARREST

One of three men accused of planting a vehicle bomb that killed Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017 dramatically pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

Many suspect it was ordered by top Malta establishment figures.

Muscat changed his plea on Tuesday in a dramatic turn of events and agreed to provide information about the murder. He must also pay 42,930 euros in court expenses.

The two other defendants, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, who are also in their 50s, were also in the courtroom on Tuesday but did not speak.

As Muscat registered his admission, police officers raided an undisclosed location and arrested three men believed to have supplied the bomb used to kill Caruana Galizia, Times of Malta reported.

They had both been arrested in the early stages of the investigation, but later released.

Multimillionaire businessman Yorgen Fenech, who had high-level political connections, is suspected of having masterminded the crime and has been accused of being an accomplice to murder.

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The Daphne Foundation, set up in 2019, quoted the family's lawyer as telling the court that it hoped that Tuesday's guilty plea would "begin to lead to full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia".

The owner of a Dubai company, 17 Black, on which Caruana Galizia had reported, he was arrested in November 2019 as he was sailing away from Malta on his yacht.

Muscat is not related to Joseph Muscat, the former prime minister who was in office when Caruana Galizia was killed and resigned in December 2019 to "shoulder political responsibility".

All face a number of other charges from unlawful possession of firearms and explosives to forming part of a criminal organisation.

After her assassination, her son Paul hit out at what he called the country's "mafia state", saying his mother had been killed "because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it".

A lawyer for Caruana Galizia's family said in court: "the macabre murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was intentional and should have been prevented". The victim has paid with her life and her family is suffering the loss of their loved one.

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