IRFS Calls on United Nations and the European Union to Launch Independent Investigation into Murder of Female Journalist Who Wrote about Corrupt Links between Maltese and Azerbaijani Authorities

October 18th, 2017

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the contract killing of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and urges all parties, that are interested in the effective investigation of the crime, to carefully consider the possible connection between her murder and the publications, in which she exposed corrupt ties between the political leadership of Malta and Azerbaijan.

IRFS presumes that investigations and anti-corruption publications authored by the female journalist about the laundering of dirty money of the corrupt political elite of Azerbaijan in Malta could be indirect and direct motives for her murder.

IRFS condemns the political leadership of Malta for missing the opportunity to protect the life of the journalist, who two weeks before her death appealed to the police and warned law enforcement agencies of the threats she had received. This alarming circumstance suggests that the authorities, who have failed to protect the well-known journalist, will also negligently investigate the details of her murder.

“The involvement by the Maltese authorities of FBI agents from the United States and criminalists from the Netherlands in the investigation of the crime does not indicate the sincerity of the authorities in the speedy and effective investigation of this case. On the contrary, this step may be an attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the international and local communities to reduce suspicions towards the Maltese government, whose high-ranking representatives might have also been involved in the murder of the journalist,” IRFS CEO Emin Huseynov said.
“Last time the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies involved FBI’s explosion experts in the investigation of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet who was killed in a car blast, the role of the FBI was limited solely to the technical expert examination of the explosion. The American law enforcers had essentially no significant influence on identifying the motives of the crime that could have helped to trace the mastermind and perpetrators of the murder. Even the Azerbaijani authorities, who are well-known around the world for their hostility to freedom of speech, immediately appealed to the FBI and Turkish special services for assistance in investigation after the high-profile killing of well-known public critic and journalist Elmar Huseynov in 2005 to at least somehow dispel the suspicions directed at them. Two months later, after the tension around Elmar Huseynov’s murder subsided, the US and Turkish intelligence officers were asked to leave the country and the results of their investigation remained unknown to the public. Essentially, a partial and inadequate involvement of foreign intelligence agencies in the investigation of high-profile crimes dispelled suspicions towards the authorities and reduced international and local criticisms against them. Usually, after the departure of foreign specialists, national investigative agencies purposefully bring the investigation into a deadlock, because corrupt authorities are essentially not interested in solving such crimes. Given the bitter experience of countries, where the establishment is, in fact, the source of power for organised crime, it is difficult to believe that the current Maltese authorities will find and punish the masterminds and perpetrators of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,”
Huseynov summed up.

IRFS believes that the outward signs of this audacious contract killing points to the demonstrative nature of the crime, which was aimed not only at stopping a well-known journalist but also intimidating other anti-corruption investigative journalists both inside and outside the country.

IRFS calls on the European Union to carefully investigate the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and to prevent a country, which is its full member and has recently presided over the European Council, from becoming a paragon of impunity where critics of high-level corruption and transnational organised crime turn into convenient and comfortable targets.

IRFS calls on the European Parliament to take maximum advantage of its powers to create a parliamentary mechanism to control the investigation of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and to adopt a strong resolution calling on all EU countries to contribute to the investigation of this crime and preventing others from becoming possible victims in the future.

IRFS further calls on the EU countries to improve legislation and prohibit any possibility of using the economic infrastructure, in particular, the banking and financial system of the European Union, for laundering dirty money of transnational oligarch groups that are essentially the masterminds of crimes against corruption fighters.

Considering the fact that the journalist’s murder is linked to her investigation of the illegal actions of the Maltese and Azerbaijani authorities related to money laundering, which falls within the jurisdiction of the European Police Office (Europol), IRFS calls upon the Europol to immediately begin its own investigation into the journalist’s murder and criminal actions that she reported on in her materials.

IRFS calls on the Secretary General and Security Council of the United Nations to initiate the creation of an independent commission to investigate the circumstances of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, as done by the United Nations in similar cases during the investigation by special independent international commissions of the killings of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

IRFS calls on the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan to launch an investigation into possible motives of the representatives of Azerbaijan behind the contract killing of anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, given that she repeatedly mentioned their criminal interests in Malta in her publications.

IRFS also calls on the international journalistic community to conduct an alternative journalistic investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, as in the case of the similar murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet.