Outrageous that Malta prime minister still suing Daphne Caruana Galizia – Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović was responding to a question by Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola 

Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović
Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović

It's outrageous that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is still suing the late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović said on Tuesday.

During a meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, Mijatović described the assassination of Caruana Galizia as the case that shook all of Europe.

"This is the case that shook Europe and beyond. I will not engage in assessing the impact of the investigation and how the Maltese government is dealing with this, but as you know, I asked [Joseph Muscat] to drop the libel cases on Daphne. He is still carrying on with these cases even after her death, which is, I think, quite outrageous," she said.

Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola asked the Commissioner to give her assessment of the Maltese government's reaction to the murder
Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola asked the Commissioner to give her assessment of the Maltese government's reaction to the murder

She was responding to a question asked by Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola after the Council of Europe commissioner's presentation on media freedom in Europe. The Council of Europe has nothing to do with the EU. Mijatović was invited to address the European Parliament committee.

Metsola's question was first framed as a statement: "When I speak of these issues, Joseph Muscat's government of Malta tries to paint it as some sort of political party issue, but perhaps they will listen to somebody like you with no interest apart from truth and justice. Can you give us some information as to your assessment of the Maltese government's reaction?"

Mijatović said that she would continue working with local NGOs and praised them for not allowing the murder to slip into oblivion. "We owe this to Daphne, her family and all journalists around the world."

Mijatović compared Malta's case with that in Slovakia, where journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová were murdered in their home in February 2018. She said that Slovakia's investigation into the murders had led to tangible results where the masterminds as well as the perpetrators would soon face justice.

In Malta, she argued, the Council of Europe was still waiting for justice to be served and was still waiting for a tangible result to "this horrible crime."

She concluded by saying that assassinations and rising nationalism in Europe were contributing to a toxic atmosphere that was poisoning democracy and a climate where distrust in the press was the order of the day.

Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bomb attack close to her home in Bidnija in October 2017. Three men are to stand trial for her murder but the mastermind is still believed to be out at large.

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