The three sons of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have described the Greek courts’ decision not to extradite Maria Efimova to Malta as “an indictment of Malta’s collapsing rule of law and its government’s drive to persecute rather than protect whistleblowers.”
“Ms Efimova’s decision to expose wrongdoing by her former employer in Malta, Pilatus Bank chairman Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, who is now facing 125 years in a US jail for evading sanctions against Iran, and his corrupt links to Maltese government officials, was a bold and brave step,” Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia said in a joint statement. “It put her at risk of assassination. Ms Efimova should be protected not only because it is her right, but also because it is the right thing to do. Instead, Malta has made her the country’s first political asylum seeker.
The Caruana Galizias accused the government of leading a smear campaign against Efimova by feeding the Greek press fake stories that she was wanted in connection with their mother’s assassination.
The Greek courts have set Egrant whistleblower Maria Efimova free
“Whistleblowers play a critical role in ensuring a free and democratic society by revealing malfeasance, corruption, and crime,” they said. “The risks of speaking out affect them and those closest to them, but the benefits of their speaking out benefit us all. Malta has done nothing to protect its most prominent whistleblowers, Maria Efimova and Jonathan Ferris, both of whom revealed crime and corruption at the highest level of the Maltese government. Whistleblowers should be protected. They should not be persecuted.”
Efimova made the headlines last year when she was revealed as one of the main sources behind journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s story that the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat owns the offshore Panama company Egrant. Muscat has denounced the story as “the biggest lie in Malta’s political history”.