Photo from Net News live coverage of arraignments
The three men who have been charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia have not requested a presidential pardon in return for telling the police who ordered the hit on the journalist, a police spokesperson has told Lovin Malta.
The police say they have rock solid electronic evidence linking the three men – George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat – to the murder of Caruana Galizia on 16th October. Alfred Degiorgio and Vince Muscat were reportedly on lookout in Bidnija, while George Degiorgio was stationed on a boat from where he delivered a fatal SMS to an electronic device which triggered a bomb planted inside Caruana Galizia’s car.
Responding to questions from Lovin Malta, the police confirmed the FBI, Europol, and Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation will continue supporting the Malta Police with the court case against the three suspects. However, they refused to comment when asked whether the magisterial inquiry led by Anthony Vella will continue.
Although the evidence against the three men would appear to be solid, the motive behind the assassination remains a complete mystery. In a statement this evening, the Caruana Galizia family noted that the late journalist never wrote about any of the three suspects who were charged in court and only briefly wrote about one of the seven men who were arrested but then released on police bail.
The FBI will continue assisting the Maltese police in their investigations. (Stock photo)
MaltaToday reported the assassination is believed to have been sub-contracted twice, which would give the mastermind two layers to hide behind and render the three suspects mere stooges.
Police have had a hard time prying any sort of information from the three suspects who have reportedly refused to speak at all during their interrogation. However, the suspects do have a crucial tool at their disposal – namely a request for a presidential pardon, which would grant them immunity in return for ratting out on the person or people who had ordered the hit on Caruana Galizia.
A parliamentary question in 2016 revealed that 414 applications for a presidential pardon had been filed since 2010 and 43 were accepted. Most of the application were related to fines, and most of these had to do with VAT fraud.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family noted that she never investigated any of the ten suspects
Granting a presidential pardon for such a major national case would prove controversial for the government, but it would not be unprecedented. In 1996, Joseph Fenech (Zeppi l-Hafi) was granted a pardon in return for evidence implicating drug lord Meinrad Calleja in the attempted murder of Richard Cachia Caruana, back then the personal assistant of Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami.
In 1997, a convicted drug trafficker was granted a presidential pardon against the wishes of Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant. The pardon was revoked and then justice minister Charles Mangion was made to resign. A few weeks before the 2013 election, the then PN government granted oil trader George Farrugia a pardon in return for information on corruption at Enemalta.