Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is set to testify in the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia as self-confessed middleman and key witness Melvin Theuma was found at his home with a slit throat – an incident the organisation described as a “disturbing development”.
RSF is in the country and monitoring developments closely, the organisation said in a statement issued hours after he was hospitalised.
Theuma was found in his apartment with a slit throat late in the evening of 21 July. He remains hospitalised with serious injuries. Police immediately claimed that Theuma’s injuries were self-inflicted – an explanation that has been “widely disputed,” the organisation said.
After confessing to his role as a middleman in Caruana Galizia’s assassination, Theuma successfully sought a pardon in exchange for testimony against alleged mastermind Yorgen Fenech – whose compilation of evidence in set to continue on 22 July.
RSF Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent is in the country and will monitor court proceedings. “This is yet another disturbing development in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder case, which has been riddled with irregularities and due process violations from the very start.”
“But the world is watching and expecting justice to be delivered in Malta,” she added. “RSF remains committed to the pursuit of full justice for everyone involved in this horrific assassination – including all masterminds.”
RSF editor-in-chief Pauline Adès-Mével is set to testify in the public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination on 24 July – the first representative of an international NGO to take part.
She will give evidence about the press freedom climate in Malta in the run-up to Caruana Galizia’s assassination on 16 October 2017. RSF and other leading free expression organisations actively campaigned for the establishment of a public inquiry in the absence of progress in the criminal investigation.
“A full report by RSF and The Shift News detailed concerns regarding the Maltese authorities’ handling of the case in the immediate aftermath of Caruana Galizia’s assassination, including police interference that seriously stalled progress in the investigation. Further revelations have emerged from the ongoing public inquiry, which started in December 2019,” RSF said.
Malta is ranked 81st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index, having fallen 34 places since 2016.