The attack on blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia is considered the most spectacular murder case in Malta. Many international observers have called for full clarification. Now there is a first guilty verdict.
More than three years after the car bombing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, a court has sentenced one of three suspects to 15 years in prison. The most spectacular murder case in the small EU state took an unexpected turn on Tuesday within a few hours. The defendant changed his statements shortly before the verdict and pleaded guilty. In the Valletta trial so far, all three men had dismissed the murder charges. The other two accused did not initially change their statements.
The blogger was blown up in her car near her home on October 16, 2017. The 53-year-old was one of the most famous investigative reporters in the country. She had researched corruption in politics and business in her country. Another case is ongoing in Malta against an alleged mastermind.
In a first reaction after the admission of guilt, the family of the dead expressed their hope that the attack could soon be fully resolved. The newspaper “Times of Malta” reported. According to the judgment, the accused also has to pay a good 40,000 euros in court costs.
Change of strategy in court
There were many suspicions in connection with the murder – including against the police and other officials for delaying the investigation. Many people in the island nation took to the streets to protest. The then Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had to vacate his post in 2020.
On Tuesday, the convict and his lawyer suddenly changed their strategy in court. The man admitted the allegations of involvement in the attack. The trio is said to have attached the bomb to the car and detonated it. The three were caught soon after the 2017 crime.
The co-defendants followed the change blankly, as observers noted. The media spoke of a possible agreement to mitigate sentences or pardons in return for information. According to the Times of Malta newspaper, it was about another murder case from 2015 in which the man is said to be involved.
Entrepreneur Fenech as a suspected mastermind
However, the blogger’s murder may also have been included in the negotiations behind the scenes. At least the police now arrested three other men who are said to have procured the car bomb.
Several proceedings are ongoing in connection with the attack on Daphne Caruana Galizia. In addition to the trial of the murder accused, the entrepreneur Yorgen Fenech was arrested in November 2019 as an alleged mastermind. He also denied the allegations. Fenech also said that a confidante of ex-Prime Minister Muscat was behind the conspiracy. The EU and other international process observers had called for a full investigation of the case.