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Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:37 GMT

Malta: MEPs Express ‘Concern' Over PM’s Role in Murdered Journalist Probe


7Dnews London

Wed, 04 Dec 2019 21:57 GMT

The head of a European Parliament mission to Malta expressed "serious concern" on Wednesday, December 4th about Joseph Muscat remaining prime minister as an investigation into journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder widens, AFP reported.

"We have serious concerns about Mr Muscat's stay in office," Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld told journalists, although Muscat has previously said he would resign after January 12th amid a scandal-dogged probe into the 2017 killing. 

The MEPs met with Maltese leaders as well as rights groups and journalists during their two-day visit. 

They have concerns about the integrity of the murder investigation, said the head of the seven MEP mission to the Mediterranean island. "We are very concerned with what we have seen or heard in the last two days," In't Veld said, adding, "There must be absolute confidence in the process and I think when he (Muscat) is in office that confidence is not there."  

In October 2017, the journalist and blogger Caruana Galizia was blown up in a car bomb attack near her home. Known for exposing cronyism within the country's political and business elite, she was described as a "one-woman WikiLeaks". 

Three men are suspects facing trial for committing the murder, but who ordered the murder remains a mystery.

Many protests have called for Muscat to resign immediately over what critics have called a “botched investigation” into the car bombing amid corruption allegations. 

Muscat has been accused of protecting political elites. Last week his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi resigned. 

Caruana Galizia had alleged that Schembri and Mizzi were involved in corruption, claims that both men have denied. 

Tycoon Yorgen Fenech, was among the three suspects. He was arrested as he tried to leave on his yacht and has been charged with complicity in the murder. 

Fenech has claimed Schembri, who was arrested last week but released two days later, was the "real mastermind" behind the killing, according to police sources.