“This is an important step forward, to deliver justice in a case that represents a dark chapter in Malta’s history, ” a statement from the office of Prime Minister Robert Abela’s government said shortly after the sentencing. One of her sons, Matthew Caruana Galizia, told reporters: “I’m relieved that they have been convicted and sentenced. Now it’s about the remaining cases, ” he said, referring to prosecution of other defendants. Therese Comodini Chachia, lawyer for the family of late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, arrives at Valletta Law court, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. The first trial for the car-bomb assassination of a Maltese journalist who investigated corruption in the tiny Mediterranean island nation has begun.
2 men get 40 years each for Malta reporter's car-bomb murderVALLETTA, Malta (AP) — A judge in Malta sentenced two brothers to 40 years in prison each after they abruptly reversed course and pleaded guilty Friday to the car-bomb murder of an anti-corruption journalist, which had shocked Europe and triggered angry protests in Malta.
The brothers had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a pardon in exchange for naming bigger alleged conspirators, including a former minister whose identity hasn’t been revealed. The bomb had been placed under the driver’s seat and the explosion was powerful enough to send the car’s wreckage flying over a wall and into a field. A top Maltese investigative journalist, Caruana Galizia, 53, had written extensively on her website “Running Commentary” about suspected corruption in political and business circles in the Mediterranean island nation, an attractive financial haven.
In a stunning reversal, the two brothers who are on trial for the car-bomb murder of the Maltese anti-corruption journalist entered guilty pleas on the first day of trial. (AP Photo/Jonathan Borg)Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jonathan BorgThe van carrying brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, not visible and accused of killing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, leaves the Valletta Law court, Friday, Oct.
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They could have faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Prosecutors alleged that the brothers were hired by a top Maltese businessman with government ties. That businessman has been charged and will be tried separately. Bringing the trial to an abrupt close, the Degiorgio brothers entered guilty pleas to all of the following charges: willful homicide; causing an explosion which resulted in the death of a person; illicit possession of explosives; criminal conspiracy; promoting, constituting, organizing or financing an organization with a view to commit criminal offenses, and active participation in a conspiracy.
(AP Photo/Jonathan Borg)Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESSThe car carrying brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, accused of killing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, arrives at Valletta Law court for their trial, Friday, Oct. (AP Photo/Jonathan Borg)Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESSCorinne Vella, sister of late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, arrives at Valletta Law court, Friday, Oct.
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Hours earlier, at the start of the trial in a Valletta courthouse, George Degiorgio, 59, and Alfred Degiorgio, 57, had entered not-guilty pleas over the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia in the blast as she drove near her home on Oct. 16, 2017. Caruana Galizia investigated suspected corruption among political and business circles in the tiny European Union nation, which is a financial haven in the Mediterranean.
In the run-up to the trial, the Degiorgio brothers had denied the charges. A third suspect, Vincent Muscat, avoided a trial after earlier changing his plea to guilty. Muscat is serving a 15-year sentence. But at Friday’s start of the trial Alfred Degiorgio pleaded not guilty while his brother declared that he had nothing to say which the court interpreted as a not-guilty plea. It wasn’t immediately clear why the defendants abruptly reversed themselves. During the prosecution’s opening arguments, the state argued they had evidence involving cell phones that would link the defendants to the bombing.
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