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Scottish PEN statement on EP resolution on Malta rule of law

Scottish PEN welcomes the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 20th October 2022 on the rule of law in Malta. This resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority just days after the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Signed by MEPs from all major political groupings, the resolution expresses serious concern […]

November 2, 2022

Scottish PEN welcomes the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 20th October 2022 on the rule of law in Malta. This resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority just days after the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Signed by MEPs from all major political groupings, the resolution expresses serious concern about the impunity still enjoyed by Malta’s disgraced ex-Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, his former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and his former cabinet minister, Konrad Mizzi, all of whom remain embroiled in ongoing corruption scandals. 

Indeed, in March 2021, Schembri spent time in prison on charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and forgery but, since then, he has been released on bail.(source1) Both Schembri and Mizzi have been banned from entering the US ‘due to their involvement in significant corruption.’(source2) Muscat continues to be implicated in various criminal activities and his house was raided by the Maltese police in January 2022.(source3

Scottish PEN joins the European Parliament in paying tribute to Daphne Caruana Galizia and similarly laments the lack of progress in securing convictions for Daphne’s killing. In particular, Scottish PEN notes the lack of action taken against high-ranking political officials exposed by Daphne’s investigations, by journalistic work pursued after her death, and by the Public Inquiry into her assassination. The report from the latter holds the Maltese State responsible for Daphne’s assassination and assigns specific responsibility to Joseph Muscat for creating the climate of impunity which enabled her murder.(source4) To date, these findings have met with no consequences from any law-enforcement agency in Malta.

Scottish PEN echoes the MEPs’ alarm at the Maltese government’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Public Inquiry, recommendations designed to ensure the safety of journalists in Malta, protect freedom of expression, and safeguard rule of law. Reiterating the words of the MEPs, Scottish PEN ‘calls on the Maltese Government to implement all the recommendations of the public inquiry report without further delay’.(source5)

The assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia sent shockwaves around Europe which were intensified by the subsequent murder of 4 journalists in the EU: Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová (2018); Viktoria Marinova (2018); George Karaivaz (2021); and Peter R. de Vries (2021). 

Scottish PEN joins the European Parliament in its fight against corruption, its insistence on press freedom, and its clearly stated opposition to impunity for those who attack and kill journalists. We take this opportunity to renew our demands for full justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia.