Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio were sentenced on Friday to 40 years in prison for the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. At first they claimed to be innocent, but in return for a lighter sentence, they pleaded guilty to the alleged acts.
What happened on Friday during the day that started before noon on Malta The trial of the brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, accused of carrying out the attack on the life of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, described the Reuters agency as “a surprising twist”. Initially, the men claimed innocence, but later agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence – 40 years in prison for each of them. If convicted in the trial, they could face life imprisonment.
A total of four people have already admitted their participation in the murder in connection with the murder case, and the fifth accused, local businessman Yorgen Fenech, is still in prison. Prosecutors believe that he ordered the murder of the journalist.
The Degiorgio brothers’ lawyer said the men wanted a pardon in exchange for exposing “everything they know about other murders, bombs and crimes” but their request was rejected by a jury.
Murder of an investigative journalist in Malta
Caruana Galizia, 53, was a popular journalist in Malta, known for her investigative reports. Her murder on October 16, 2017 raised doubts about compliance with the rule of law in Malta.
During the trial, prosecutors said the Degiorgio brothers and their joint Vincent Muscat originally planned to shoot Galizia, but later obtained an explosive that they placed in her car. According to the indictment, George Degiorgio fired the bomb from a yacht off the coast of Malta, and his brother Alfred and Vincent Muscat acted as observers. Muscat pleaded guilty to the crime in 2021 and in exchange for information received a lighter sentence – 15 years in prison.
Investigation into the murder of Caruana Galizia
The brothers Degiorgios and Muscat were arrested in December 2017 and have been behind bars since then. Much of the evidence was obtained from the testimony and recordings of telephone conversations by Melvin Theuma, a conspirator, who was pardoned by the president at the end of 2019 in exchange for information.
Theuma claimed that the murder was ordered by Yorgen Fenech, who headed a consortium embroiled in a controversial government contract to build a power plant. Fenech was arrested in November 2019.
Caruana Galizia revealed the existence of a covert company that would redirect funds to Panama-registered companies owned by then-Minister of Energy Konrad Mizzi and the head of the government’s office Keith Schembri.
Fenech’s arrest led to the resignation of Schembri and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. They both deny involvement in the murder of the journalist, neither of them was charged.
Main photo source: Reuters Archive