The sons of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have taken their quest for justice to the Council of Europe, urging it to assign a special rapporteur to Malta to monitor the investigation into their mother’s murder.
Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizias delivered heartfelt speeches during a Council of Europe discussion in Strasbourg, in which they warned their mother had been subjected to so much harassment during her lifetime that it was like “watching her assassination unfold in slow motion”.
“My mother wasn’t free to work, but she worked despite everything, and by the time of her death she was the last real independent check on our government,” Andrew Caruana Galizia said. “She was simply doing her duty as investigative journalist, but not only did Maltese institutions fail to protect her but they were complicit in her harassment. Key members of the government and police were mobilised to go after her. In our lifetime, our house was set on fire twice and we’ve lost count of the number of pet dogs we’ve had killed; we found one dog with its throat slit on our doorstep and other dogs bludgeoned to death.”
— Council of Europe (@coe) January 22, 2018
“In the last year of her life, she found herself on the receiving end of 47 libel cases, amounting to 90 percent of all libels nationally, as well as five criminal defamation cases. The courts had the power to dismiss these cases as vexatious but didn’t do it.”
“One of the last things my mother told me in October 2017 was ‘They’re trying to fry me alive’. She was facing concerted harassment on all fronts – legal, financial, and even psychological through hate campaigns.”
“We were all targeted too. Our father was targeted with vexatious investigations, I was recalled from a diplomatic post, Paul was plastered all over the media a few years ago, and Matthew is constantly harassed by trolls on social media. This is the environment in which our mother worked, this is how it was possible for her to be killed. Her assassination wasn’t out of the blue, but we watched it it unfold in slow motion.”
The Caruana Galizias accused Joseph Muscat of promoting a culture of impunity
“Our mother was a household name for 30 years, but because she was a lone voice and so much media was silenced through legal threats she was extremely vulnerable. It was in this context that her assassination became conceivable. People asked us whether our mother should leave Malta, and we also tried to encourage her to think about leaving Malta and continuing her work from abroad, but yet she stayed. Deep down, I think she was prepared to go through whatever she needed to. The fact that the people she implicated got away with complete impunity and that any kind of institutional response was crushed meant her assassination became possible,” said Andrew Caruana Galizia.
“The people she reported on faced no other threat but than her, and we believe our government and the international community have responsibility to shoulder. If justice isn’t done in her case it will be like killing her a second time, and if the crimes she uncovered remain uninvestigated and unprosecuted, then she would have died in vain.”