All FBI, EUROPOL, NBI information on Caruana Galizia murder to be revealed, Prime Minister says

Muscat clarifies that not all those arrested are known to police. 

The Prime Minister said police have 48 hours to interrogate the ten persons arrested today, and decide whether to arraign them in court
The Prime Minister said police have 48 hours to interrogate the ten persons arrested today, and decide whether to arraign them in court

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that the police have 48 hours to interrogate, and decide whether to arraign in court, the ten persons arrested in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder

Giving a ministerial statement in parliament this evening, the Prime Minister said that the police would be giving more information in the future, and all information gathered by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, EUROPOL and the National Investigation Bureau of Finland, would be revealed.

Muscat said that he was formally informing the room that a security operation, which reached its peak at around 8:15am today, and which was the fruit of an investigation which had been ongoing for a number of weeks, had led to ten people being arrested because they are reasonably believed to be involved in Caruana Galizia’s killing.

The operation had taken place in Marsa, Haz-Zebbug and Bugibba, and involved security forces operating on land, the sea, and in the air, Muscat said, as he explained that as police had places of interest under surveillance, he had given a press conference to inform the people about the developments.

Muscat maintained that, since there had been a previous 2002 case where a declaration by a Prime Minister had been deemed enough to cause prejudice in relation to the case, he had decided to consult the Attorney General beforehand to strike a balance between giving information and preventing someone from being found not guilty on a technical point.

In response to the Prime Minister’s statement, opposition leader Adrian Delia said that he understood the sensitivity of the case, and that the primary interest in this situation was the upholding of the national interest, and the interest that justice be served.

Delia said that he, procedurally speaking, could understand why the Prime Minister had chosen to speak before the 48 hours had elapsed, however it was at the Prime Minister’s discretion to decide whether to explain those reasons now.

He also noted that it was usually the Police Commissioner who would notify the people of development, at the opportune time, as he remarked that he was informed that the Commissioner was, at the time of the Prime Minister’s press statement, at an activity which had nothing to do with the Caruana Galizia Case.

This would indicate that the Police Commissioner was not involved in the case during these important 48 hours, Delia maintained.

Delia also said that the information provided was that the ten suspects had been involved in previous crimes.

He said that Muscat could also choose to inform the room whether the sensitivity of the Caruana Galizia family was respected in the way they were informed about the developments. Earlier today, Matthew Caruana Galizia, son of the murdered journalist, had lamented that the family got to know of the arrests via Twitter.

Replying to Delia, Muscat said he had chose to speak before the lapse of the 48 hours because he felt he was duty-bound to inform the public regarding the arrests, and to do so without creating any prejudice on the case, which is why he had consulted the AG before speaking.

He also wanted to strike a balance between the presumption of innocence of the individuals concerned, and the duty to notify the public.

Regarding Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar’s involvement in the case, Muscat said that Cutajar was involved in the operation as leader of the police corps. This morning’s statement had been made by the government, Muscat explained, and not the police, who would make their own statement following the interrogations and possible arraignments.

He also clarified that not all those arrested had been previously known to the police.

Muscat added that it was general practice for the police not to alert someone by arresting them, unless they had more information on the case, or else these persons could be released after 48 hours and go on to cover their tracks. Here he emphasised that he was not making reference to this particular case, but only to the usual way police operated.

Regarding the way the Caruana Galizia family were informed, the Prime Minister said that he was informed that it was the inquiring magistrate, who had been pre-advised regarding the arrests, who was thought to be the one who would have given the arrests news to the family.

“I think today we saw a very important development in this case,” Muscat said, “but we need to wait for the process to be concluded before we can give all the information - something which I am not at liberty to do now, so as not to prejudice the case. Our resolve is to find who planted the bomb and who ordered it.”

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