Malta agrees to public inquiry into journalist's murder

Valletta (AFP) –

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The Maltese government on Friday ordered an independent inquiry into the 2017 murder of anti-corrution journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a day after the expiry of a Council of Europe deadline.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appointed a retired judge to head the inquiry into the fatal car bombing of journalist and blogger Caruana Galizia, whose family and supporters have repeatedly called for an independent probe.

Muscat's office said it had agreed to the inquiry after it was assured it would not undermine criminal investigations into the killing.

Three men are facing trial, but the masterminds have not been identified.

The inquiry, which must be concluded within nine months, will be headed by retired judge Michael Mallia, who will alongside legal expert Ian Refalo and forensic expert Anthony Abela Medici.

The Council of Europe had, in June, given the government three months to set up the public inquiry, something which civil society and the family had been requesting since the beginning.

The Maltese government said it had held talks with the Council of Europe, which in June gave Valletta a three-month deadline to set up such an inquiry, on how to avoid it endangering criminal proceedings.