Europe

Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta leaders barred from funeral

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Media captionEmotional farewell to slain journalist

Several hundred people in Malta have taken part in the funeral of a journalist killed by a car bomb attack that shocked the country last month.

The crowd applauded when the coffin with Daphne Caruana Galizia arrived at the church in Mosta.

The 53-year-old was known for her blog accusing top politicians of corruption.

Her family barred Malta's leaders from attending the ceremony. The EU executive has urged the authorities to find the "barbarous" assassins.

International experts, including from the FBI, are helping in the investigations but no arrests have been made so far.

The government has offered a €1m (£890,000; $1.2m) reward for information about her murder on 16 October.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The journalist's sons Matthew and Paul carried her coffin
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There were calls for "justice" outside the church in Mosta

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who led the Mass at Malta's biggest church, said: "We still do not know who killed Daphne. However hard you try to evade the justice of men, you will never escape from the justice of God. Repent before it is too late."

Outside the church, the huge crowds sang the Maltese national anthem and some called for "justice".

Friday had been declared a day of mourning and flags flew at half-mast.

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca's office said she had been told via a third party that her presence in the ceremony "was not desired" by the journalist's family.

And a spokesman for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said: "The family has made it widely known that it does not wish the state authorities to attend."

The country's opposition leader was also absent.

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Media captionAndrew Borg Cardona: "My friend has been killed there"

Ms Galizia was a harsh critic of the government and effectively triggered an early election this year by publishing allegations linking Mr Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal.

Mr Muscat and his wife denied claims they used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family - and he was returned to power in the election, despite the controversy.

The journalist's sons have called for him to step down over her killing.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The journalist's murder in a car bomb attack last month shocked Malta

The editors of eight of the world's largest news organisations, including the BBC, called for the European Commission - the EU executive - to investigate the murder.

In response, Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the commission, urged authorities to leave "no stone unturned" in the case.

"The eyes of Europe are on the Maltese authorities," he said in a statement.

"We want the investigations to run their full course, so that any other related wrong-doings that may emerge can also be prosecuted and potential structural problems be resolved."

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