Family of slain journalist presses Malta’s PM to resign

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Undated file photo of Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscats former chief of staff Keith Schembri, who was arrested this week for questioning as a person of interest in the October 2017 car-bomb murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. After languishing for two years, the investigation has moved swiftly since a Maltese businessman was arrested on a private yacht trying to flee Malta last week. The businessman, Yorgen Fenech, provided information about Muscats ex-chief of staff, Keith Schembri, reportedly in a bid to win immunity. (AP Photo/str)

VALLETTA – The family of a journalist who was killed by a car bomb in Malta is urging Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign, after his former chief aide was released from jail in a probe aimed at finding the mastermind of the 2017 murder.

Muscat said Friday that police found no grounds to hold Keith Schembri, his former chief of staff in custody. The family of the slain journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, said in a tweet that “we share Malta’s shock and anger” that the ex-aide was released from jail a day earlier.

“This travesty of justice is shaming our country, ripping our society apart, and it is degrading us,” one of Daphne’s sons, Paul Caruana Galizia, said in a tweet. “It cannot continue any longer.”

“We urge the prime minister to step aside and let an unconflicted deputy take over. If the prime minister has the interests of justice and Malta at heart, then he should do so immediately.”

Maltese media were reporting that Muscat’s resignation could be imminent.

Thousands of Maltese on the Mediterranean island nation of some 400,000 people have been turning out nightly outside Muscat’s office calling on the prime minister to step down.

Muscat’s office denied Maltese media reports claiming that the prime minister’s Cabinet had lost faith in him, describing them “as total invention.”

The prime minister “will remain focused on the priority of the country to close one of the biggest criminal cases in history,’’ his office said in a statement.