Three men charged over murder of investigative reporter

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gives a statement announcing the arrest of eight suspects in the Oct. 16 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Valletta Malta Monday Dec.4

Three men were charged Tuesday with the murder of campaigning Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a horrific auto bombing on the Mediterranean island on October 16.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died when her auto was blown up on October 16, was one of Malta's most prominent public figures, thanks to a widely read blog she used to expose the murky underbelly of the economically booming island nation.

Muscat said police and the military were involved in an operation following a weeks-long investigation into the high-profile murder.

Eight Maltese citizens were arrested because of "reasonable suspicion" for their involvement in Caruana Galizia's killing, Muscat told reporters at a news conference.

"On Monday, her family reacted angrily to how the arrests were announced - saying police should have informed the family, not Muscat first - and reiterating in a statement their uncertainty if justice will be carried out, despite the prime minister's public insistence earlier in the day that all would be done to solve the case".

Galizia was reportedly following leads from the Panama Papers and had accused senior government functionaries and politicians of Malta of graft and money laundering. The minister brushed off the allegation, but the family said it was prepared to take legal action to prevent the government from sabotaging the case.

They said they had already written to the police commission about "the constant stream of leaks which prejudice the integrity of the investigation", but never received a response.

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Under Maltese law, they can be interrogated for 48 hours before a decision must be made to prosecute or release them.

All three have pleaded not guilty, according to reports.

She exposed alleged corruption amongst high-level officials on her popular blog Running Commentary.

Last week, MEPs visiting Malta on a fact-finding mission said they had arrived "seriously concerned" about the rule of law and were leaving "even more worried".

With a career spanning more than three decades, she was "one of Malta's most important, visible, fearless journalists", in the words of former Home Affairs Minister Louis Galea.

All have denied the accusations and Galizia was hit with 36 libel suits in the nine months preceding her death.

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