Thu, Apr 19, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Mastermind behind murder protected: family

The Guardian

Photographs of assassinated journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia, top, and Jan Kuciak, right, and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, are seen on a makeshift memorial to Caruana Galizia in Valletta, Malta, on March 18.

Photo: Reuters

The family of the murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia believe that three men awaiting trial for the crime were acting on orders from inside Malta and have expressed concern that elements within the government might be protecting whoever commissioned the killing.

In his first full interview since his wife’s death in a car bombing six months ago, Peter Caruana Galizia said that political interests were blocking the police investigation and said he feared the mastermind might never be brought to justice.

“It is clear to us that the three men arraigned so far are simply contractors commissioned by a third party,” he said. “My sons and I are not convinced that our government really wants to establish who sent them, for fear such persons are in fact very close to our government. For this reason we may never know the truth.”

The accused men have all entered not guilty pleas.

Police are still setting out their evidence before a magistrate, who is to decide whether to dismiss the case or send the men for prosecution before a judge and jury.

The Maltese government said police are leaving no stone unturned.

The Maltese Minister for Justice is offering a 1 million euros (US$1.2 million) reward for information leading to anyone who might have ordered the car bombing on Oct. 16 last year.

Daphne Caruana Galizia had plenty of enemies and critics. She had challenged many who hold power and influence in Malta: mobsters, business people, public officials, lawyers, the governing Labour Party, even the current leader of the Nationalist Party, with which she had been closely aligned.

The journalist’s widower was speaking from the family home in the village of Bidnija, Malta, where he is under 24-hour police protection. The 62-year-old lives alone because the family have been advised by security experts that it is too dangerous for his three sons to stay on the island where they grew up.

Peter Caruana Galizia agreed to speak because of his concerns that the murder inquiry, which has been assisted by the FBI, appears to have stalled.

The three suspects have been widely reported in Malta’s media as being known to the police.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family have dismissed the government’s offer of a reward for information about the mastermind as a publicity stunt.

According to two sources with knowledge of the investigation, officers are working on the assumption that the maker of the bomb is still at large and that whoever ordered the attack might have links to organized crime.

Detectives believe the accused — brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, and their friend Vincent Muscat — had been tipped off before their arrest. When officers sought them out in the harbor area of Marsa, in a raid filmed on a soldier’s head camera and later broadcast on television, police believe they were prepared.

Phones had allegedly been thrown in the water, and George had his partner’s mobile number written on his hand.

“I don’t see a full commitment to trying to find out who sent the killers,” Peter Caruana Galizia said.

His wife’s political blog often attracted more readers than all of Malta’s national press combined and took aim at anyone she believed needed to be held to account.

Daphne Caruana Galizia used to joke that someone would have to take out a contract on her life before she fell silent, her husband said.

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