The Maltese government has instructed the Italian government to drop Catanese Senator Mario Michele Giarruso from visiting Malta from Monday as part of a fact-finding mission of the Italian anti-mafia commission.

Senator Mario Michele Giarruso called for Joseph Muscat’s government’s resignation for failing to protect the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia. And the Maltese government, always keen to appear tolerant of critical views whether of a biċċa blogger or a biċċa Senator of the Italian Republic, asked that he not be allowed to visit.

Joseph Muscat may have deeper reasons for wanting Senator Giarruso out of his hair. He is a veteran of the battle to clean up Sicily of the Mafia having led civil society movements focused on resisting the mafia in his native Sicily since his student days. His life’s work was smelling out the mafia’s work including its reach in Sicilian politics.

He was elected to the Italian senate on the 5-star ticket in 2013.

Speaking to Sicilian news site Mario Michele Giarruso said: “Because of what I said about the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia I have been declared persona non grata by the government of Malta. (Head of the Italian Anti-Mafia Commission Deputy Rosy) Bindi has cut me off the visit of the Anti-Mafia Commission. This is very serious. We (the Italians) are becoming doormats of a ‘superpower’ like Malta that merely needs to protest for Italy to do its bidding”. (My translation).

Senator Mario Michele Giarrusso further says: “I dared say that it is a very grave matter for a state to fail to protect a journalist whose life was threatened. And that it is obvious that a state must carry the consequences if that journalist is killed, assuming responsibility for failing to protect her. Apart from all the questions about corruption and other things, the government should resign just for failing to protect someone asking for help”.

“What we said has angered the Maltese government and (Rosy) Bindi immediately sought to accommodate the Maltese government’s protests. A rump commission goes to Malta on Monday so the Maltese are not annoyed with our presence”.

“This terrible story of this journalist has fallen in our lap. This mission cannot ignore what happened. I am stunned by the silence of Italian politics which fits it between complicity and shame. This is the silence of people with something to hide in Malta. They are scared that taking a position, however obvious, might backfire. We have not had the courage to speak up, because the Maltese government expressed displeasure. The Partito Democratico (of Rosy Bindy) that presides the bilateral commission has ensured the prompt execution of the Maltese government’s wishes”.

“The Maltese situation is indeed very complicated. Poor (Daphne Caruana Galizia) paid the price. She should never have been left alone without protection. We insist there is an objective responsibility of the government for not responding to the journalist’s call for help. This responsibility should lead to the immediate resignation of the Maltese government. We will continue to make this accusation”.