Daphne Murder Opened the Dark Side of Malta.


Matthew Caruana Galizia could feel the heat of the burning car on his face and eyes. Through the flames, he caught sight of a mother and child by the roadside crying and screaming: “What can we do, what can we do?”

“I looked into the car and there was nothing,” said Matthew. He couldn’t see his own mother, Daphne burning inside her bombed car.

Then he saw parts of his mother. A leg and other bits of the body lay scattered around him in the field. Daphne Caruana Galizia, journalist, blogger and crusader against corruption and cronyism on the island of Malta, had finally been silenced.

Galizia’s murder last October opened the dark side of Malta, a rocky speck in the Mediterranean full of European Union members and a haven for offshore finance and cryptocurrencies.

The brazen assassination and the lawlessness it implies appalled not only Daphne’s friends and family, but also political leaders across Western Europe.

Police believe the person who ordered the bombing is still at large. “Her murder is being investigated vigorously,” Malta’s government told Reuters adding, “Police will have whatever resources they need to pursue and prosecute those responsible.”

The collaboration with more than 15 media groups, including Reuters, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Le Monde and France 2 television, sheds new light on Daphne’s complex character and life, and for the first timepieces together in detail key elements of the plot to kill her. This story is part of the Daphne Project, an investigation coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based group that continues the work of journalists silenced through murder or imprisonment.

Matthew doesn’t know who ordered his mother’s murder, but he does believe, as do some European Union officials, that the nature of Maltese politics and society made her assassination possible. There was a toleration of corruption, he says, that enabled such acts.

Ana Gomes, a member of the European Union parliament who last year led an EU mission to Malta to examine the rule of law and progress on preventing money-laundering, agrees with Daphne’s family.

“The culture of impunity in Malta ... fosters corruption, organized financial criminality and state capture,” she said. “And it was that culture that created the conditions for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.”

Reported by Stephen Grey

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