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Civil society demonstration to be held among growing concerns over rule of law in Malta

Protest comes in the wake of EU fact-finding mission in which MEPs said they are extremely worried about the rule of law in Malta

A demonstration in Valletta calling for justice for assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: Daniel Cilia.

The third demonstration calling for justice for journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – murdered in a car-bomb on 16 October – will take place today in Valletta.

The key speaker in the demonstration organised by Civil Society Network (CSN) is Italian anti-corruption prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro who in the 1990s exposed the extensive corruption network involving political parties and big business, which became to be known as ‘tangentopoli’. This led to the demise of the powerful Christian Democratic party (DC) and the Socialist Party led by Bettino Craxi.

The demonstration will also be addressed by The Shift journalist Caroline Muscat, the award-winning author Immanuel Mifsud and CSN activist Miriam Galea.

The protest comes in the wake of a fact-finding mission led by Members of the European Parliament dispatched to Malta after the European Parliament demanded that EU authorities open a formal dialogue with Malta over the death of Caruana Galizia.

After being snubbed by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and other officials, the MEPs said they arrived “seriously concerned” about the rule of law in Malta and were leaving “even more worried”.

The delegation said an apparent reluctance to investigate and prosecute major cases had created a “perception of impunity”. While Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana Gomes said the delegation found it “extremely disturbing” that some of the officials it met did not answer its questions, Green MEP Sven Giegold said that after two days of meetings with senior government officials, journalists and activists he was concerned about the island’s police and attorney general.

According to The Sunday Times, the former anti-money laundering agency investigator Jonathan Ferris told MEPs that he was prevented from taking a report calling for criminal action against tourism minister Konrad Mizzi to court.

Among those interviewed was Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri who reportedly told MEPs that despite having enough evidence to prosecute against PEPs implicated in the Panama Papers investigations the police have so far failed to take any action.

In a press statement, CSN said that the Police Commissioner and Attorney General should be sacked “in view of their lack of action on corruption and lack of collaboration with the Judiciary, as recently highlighted by Chief Justice. Their replacements should enjoy the support of at least two thirds of Parliament, in a spirit of consensus”.

The demonstration will take place this afternoon at 4pm in Valletta where crowds will gather in front of the law courts and walk to the Parliament building.

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