Journalism in the Kingdom of Saudi Malta

Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia for international human rights organisation Article 19, compared Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s interference with the criminal investigation and public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia to that of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi The Shift News reported.

This extraordinary situation in Malta bears comparison to the role of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Sarah Clarke speaking to the shift news

Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s best-known journalist, wrote columns critical of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in the Washington Post.

He walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the 2 October 2018 where he had an appointment to collect documents he needed for his forthcoming marriage. He never walked out.

He was brutally slain a few minutes after he walked into the consulate by a 15-man Saudi hit squad who had been flown in two hours prior. He was drugged and asphyxiated, then dismembered and stuffed into bags. His body was never recovered.

Saudi authorities offered a number of very different narratives of what happened to Khashoggi.

First they said Khashoggi had left the consulate by the back door.

Then they said that a fist fight had broken out in the consulate and that Khashoggi died in the punch-up.

The third Saudi lie about the assassination was that it was a rogue operation.

But recorded excerpts of conversation between the key hit men show clearly that the assassination was premeditated and also that there was state involvement in the assassination as well as the subsequent botched cover-up.

Agnes Callamard, the United Nation’s extrajudicial investigator into the murder said in her report that she “determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s”.

The same words can be said of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the investigation into it. All one needs to do is replace “Saudi” with “Malta” and “crown prince” with “prime minister”.

Agnes Callamard’s damning report on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi bears several striking points of resemblance to the report on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia drawn up by Mr Pieter Omtzigt and adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Omtzigt is the Council of Europe rapporteur on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta. 

There are an astounding number of similarities in the way the states in both cases operated to cover up several aspects of the assassination including the possible involvement of officials in the highest echelons of government and to hinder the course of justice.

The Caruana Galizia case was assigned to a police official who clearly should never have been involved in the case, as both he and his wife were the subject of Caruana Galizia’s investigations and writings; the police investigation was found to be in breach of human rights by the courts.

The Maltese government consistently refused to hold an independent and impartial inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination, even after this was mandated by the Council of Europe and in spite of pressure from several international organisations.

There is a marked and highly suspicious reluctance by the police commissioner and the attorney general to do their job and duty without fear and favour where people in the higher echelons of the government and/or the Labour party are concerned. As Sarah Clarke put it:

“It’s impossible to overstate the concerns we have that Joseph Muscat remains as Prime Minister, with his involvement and executive power over the Police Commissioner and Attorney General. The revelations of the past few weeks demonstrate that the Prime Minister is totally compromised and cannot remain in charge,” 

Sarah Clarke speaking to the shift news

The testimony given by the mastermind/one of the masterminds of Caruana Galizia’s assassination Yorgen Fenech, that given by middleman Melvin Theuma and the opening statement given by the Caruana Galizia family in the public inquiry clearly indicate a possible involvement of the then prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri in some, if not all, of the aspects of Caruana Galizia’s assassination, and of his trading in influence to help those involved in the assassination evade justice.

Joseph Muscat by his own admission meddled in the investigation. He has protected Keith Schembri for several years. Schembri is being implicated in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, in its cover-up, and has been implicated in corruption and bribery for a long time.

The calls for Muscat to resign or be removed must become louder and louder. The calls for Muscat to be hauled in by the police and investigated must become louder and louder.

They must not stop till justice is done and corruption eradicated from Castille.

I encourage people to attend tomorrow’s national protest.

Make your voice heard.

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