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Murdered Malta Journalist’s Family Eyes Suit to Force Public Inquiry

The family of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed while probing corruption at the highest level, said they will go to court to force a public inquiry if the government keeps ignoring their request, their British lawyers said.

Doughty Street Chambers and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors said they wouldn’t again ask Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who had been linked to her investigation, to set up a panel to review the circumstances of her death for which three men have been charged but no mastermind found.

The lawyers said Malta is required to establish a public inquiry under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights, Malta Today and the Times of London reported but Muscat said he wants to wait until law enforcement officials have concluded their own investigation.

Paul Caruana Galizia, one of Daphne’s three sons,said the family had already been forced to go to the highest court in Malta to remove from the criminal investigation a senior police officer who was one of those she was also investigating where she was killed by a car bomb in October, 2017.

A constitutional court had ruled in favor of a request to have police Deputy Commissioner Silvio Valletta removed from the investigation.

“A grieving family of an assassinated investigative journalist should not have to return to court to compel Malta to comply with its legal obligation to establish a public inquiry; however, if that proves necessary we shall do so without delay,” Paul Caruana Galizia said.

The family’s solicitor Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy said, “If this does not result in steps being taken to establish a public inquiry, the family will have no option but to issue proceedings in Malta without delay and if necessary thereafter in the European Court of Human Rights.”

Earlier, the Sunday Times of Malta, citing unnamed high-ranking officers leading the investigation said it was nearing an end, although another police source said the story was incorrect.

“It is not as it is reported, no … we have not found out who is behind it yet,” the source, who had been briefed at a senior level on the investigation, told Reuters. Galizia’s sister, Corinne Vella, told the news agency the “family was not formally informed by police that the suspected masterminds had been identified.”

A court documenting initial evidence against the suspects heard evidence that they allegedly planted a bomb in the journalist’s car and set it off via an SMS message, the paper said although no motive has been given despite her aggressive push to reveal wrongdoing.