Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist, was killed when a powerful bomb blew up her car
Three men have been charged over the murder of an investigative journalist killed by a car bomb in Malta.
Ten suspects were arrested, over the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, earlier this week.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the suspects, all Maltese citizens, were arrested due to a ‘reasonable suspicion’ of their involvement Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder.
The arrests, made in an operation coordinated among the Police Corps, the Armed Forces of Malta and the Security Services, were the first break in the murder on October 16 that has drawn widespread outrage and condemnation.
Investigators have been questioning the suspects since their arrest on Monday, but had to charge or release them after 48 hours in accordance with Maltese law.
Muscat provided no other concrete information about the arrests or suspects, citing concerns that anything he says could derail any prosecution.
Caruana Galizia, whose reporting focused heavily on corruption on the EU island nation, was killed when a bomb destroyed her car as she was driving near her home.
Europol, the European Union’s police agency, sent a team of organized crime experts to help Maltese police investigate the assassination, joining the FBI and Dutch forensic experts.
Just before her death, Caruana Galizia, had posted on her closely followed blog, Running Commentary, that there were ‘crooks everywhere’ in Malta.
The island nation has a reputation as a tax haven in the European Union and has attracted companies and money from outside Europe.
The journalist focused her reporting for years on investigating political corruption and scandals, and reported on Maltese mobsters and drug trafficking.
She also wrote about Maltese links to the so-called Panama Papers leaks about offshore financial havens.
Caruana Galizia, whose reporting focused heavily on corruption on the EU island nation, was killed when a bomb destroyed her car as she was driving near her home
The blackened tarmac shows where the explosion happened and the car’s path can be seen heading from the road into the field
Caruana Galizia, 53, ran a hugely popular blog in which she relentlessly highlighted cases of alleged corruption, often involving politicians from the Mediterranean island of Malta.
She was killed as she was driving near the village of Bidnija in northern Malta.
Pictures showed the burnt-out wreck of her car lying in a field metres from the road.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who faced accusations of wrong-doing by Caruana Galizia earlier this year, denounced her killing, calling it a ‘barbaric attack on press freedom’.
‘I will not rest until I see justice done in this case. Our country deserves justice,’ he said in a televised statement at the time, in which he called for national unity.
Malta has a population of 400,000 and is the European Union’s smallest state.
‘Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way,’ Muscat said.
‘The only remedy for anyone who felt slandered was through the courts.’
Muscat called early elections in June seeking a vote of confidence to counter Caruana Galizia’s allegations of corruption.
She said documents in a small Malta-based bank showed that Muscat’s wife was the beneficial owner of a company in Panama, and that large sums of money had been moved between the company and bank accounts in Azerbaijan.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist who exposed her island nation’s links with the Panama Papers
Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car (foreground) and killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta
An ambulance is parked along the road where a car bomb exploded killing the journalist
Police and forensics experts stand behind a road block after a powerful bomb blew up the car
Police said she was killed as she was driving near the village of Bidnija in northern Malta
An ambulance and police vehicles are parked along the road where a car bomb exploded killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in the town of Mosta, Malta. The car can be seen in the field and the blackened tarmac where the explosion appeared to have happened is seen leading to the vehicle
Graffiti on the wall next to a main road. It reads, ‘We will not be silenced. RIP Daphne’
Both Muscat and his wife denied the accusation and sued Caruana Galizia for defamation. Muscat easily won reelection.
Recently, Caruana Galizia’s outspoken blog had turned its fire on opposition politicians.
‘There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,’ she wrote in the last blog published on her site days before she was killed.
In another entry last year, she wrote: ‘Malta’s public life is afflicted with dangerously unstable men with no principles or scruples.’
Television reported that Caruana Galizia had filed a complaint to the police two weeks ago to say she had received threats. It gave no further information.