Malta court charges 3 with murder of journalist, 7 on bail

10 arrests over car bomb killing of Malta journalist			
				 
   by Ann Jones 
  Published

10 arrests over car bomb killing of Malta journalist by Ann Jones Published

Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a vehicle bomb attack on 16 October, was one of the Mediterranean island's most prominent public figures thanks to a widely read blog she used to campaign against corruption.

The three suspects were among 10 people arrested in an operation on Monday.

Investigators have 48 hours to question the suspects and decide whether to charge them.

Apart from Marsa, arrests were also made in Zebbug and Bugibba, the Prime Minister said yesterday.

Farrugia said he wouldn't disclose anything else because "I have been already threatened by legal action by the Caruana Galizia family".

Muscat's Labour Party government had offered $1.2-million (R13-million) reward for information leading to a conviction of Caruana Galizia's killers. They critiqued the detainments saying that Muscat's announcement of the detained versus a police press release "prejudice the integrity of the investigation".

The three men charged with her murder were named in court as brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, 55 and 53 respectively, and Vincent Muscat, 55.

The three suspects ordered held all had previous brushes with the police.

A court hearing is set for Tuesday.

Organised crime experts from Europol, the EU's police agency, joined Federal Bureau of Investigation and Dutch forensic experts in assisting Maltese investigators.

Worldwide experts, including from the FBI, were called in to help in the investigation.

Muscat said there was a "reasonable suspicion" the suspects were involved in the killing of Caruana Galizia, whose popular blog attacked high-level political corruption, shady business dealings and organised crime on the island.

The murder on 16 October sent shockwaves through the island and alarmed the European Union, which was already concerned about the rule of law on Malta.

The family have alleged that her murder was a "targeted killing" of a journalist whose work focused on uncovering "corruption, criminality, conflicts of interest and ethical failures in decision-making" by politicians and their associates. The journalist was a part of Panama Papers investigation.

Many top officials had sued her over her reporting.

"It is of little comfort for the Prime Minister of this country to say that he will "not rest" until the perpetrators are found, when he heads a government that encouraged that same impunity", Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote in mid-October.

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