This is a letter sent today by Repubblika to the heads of state and government meeting Joseph Muscat in Valletta today:
Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of France
Mr Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus
Mr Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy
Mr Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece
Mr Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal
Mr Pedro Sanchezá, Prime Minister of Spain
14 June 2019
As you meet in Malta with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat we would urge you to discuss with him the deterioration of the rule of law in Malta and demand that the findings of the Council of Europe’s Justice and Human Rights Committee are addressed without delay to ensure the respect of European norms and fundamental freedoms in Malta.
The Council of Europe report confirmed our claim that Malta’s system of democratic checks and balances seriously undermines the rule of law.
This is the underlying cause of the assassination by car bomb of Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017 which the government of Malta now says was “not an assassination”. Malta’s government refuses all calls for an independent, international inquiry into the circumstances around that assassination.
Suppressing the truth surrounding the murder of a journalist is an extension of the effort to suppress the truth that journalist has revealed about corruption in politics in Malta at its highest levels of authority.
The murder of a journalist was followed by the authorities’ pursuit and victimisation of whistleblowers. The authorities of Greece had to intervene to protect one of the whistleblowers assisting Daphne Caruana Galizia from the abusive and threatening pursuit of the Maltese authorities.
The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and senior Minister Konrad Mizzi remain in government even though we have known for over 3 years they set up companies in Panama through Mossack Fonseca immediately upon appointment to public office. We know from the work of journalists in your countries that these two secured for themselves considerable bribes in order to commit Malta into unfavourable public procurement from the dictatorship of Azerbaijan.
We also know senior figures in that dictatorship have used Malta to launder money until the bank they used, licensed by the intervention and with the blessings of Malta’s government, was shut down by the European Central Bank.
In spite of these findings our institutions refuse to act to investigate and where necessary prosecute powerful people. Joseph Muscat’s government has acted to interfere and restrict the independence of Malta’s judiciary ensuring his immunity and the impunity of his cronies.
This is not acceptable in a European democracy.
We urge you to insist with Joseph Muscat that Malta must comply with European norms of democracy and the rule of law, protect freedom of speech, guarantee judicial and institutional independence and stop the use of Malta for the illicit purposes of international criminals.
We also urge you to join our call on Malta’s government to open an independent, international inquiry into the circumstances of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Thank you for your attention.
Malta Civil Society Organisation for Human Rights and the Rule of Law