Monthly Archives: November 2017

Family of murdered Maltese journalist file lawsuit against police

malta journalist

Family of murdered Maltese journalist file lawsuit against police

Family allege Maltese police are failing to carry out impartial investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killing

The family of the murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was a relentless critic of corruption in the country, are taking legal action against the police force for allegedly failing to ensure the investigation into her killing is impartial and independent.

Caruana Galizia was killed on 16 October after her rental car was blown apart by a powerful explosive device.

Her family are suing Malta’s chief of police on the grounds that the investigation is being overseen by a senior officer who is married to a top government minister, and who was himself the subject of a critical report by Caruana Galizia.

Lawyers acting for the family wrote to the police commissioner at the weekend demanding that his deputy, Silvio Valletta, be removed from the case within three days. After receiving no response, they filed a lawsuit on Wednesday at Malta’s constitutional court calling for his removal.

Valletta is married to Justyne Caruana (no relation to the journalist), who was promoted by the prime minister, Joseph Muscat, to minister for the island of Gozo in June.

Under the European convention on human rights, states are obliged to run independent and objective investigations into any murder.

“The involvement of the deputy commissioner, Silvio Valletta, violates the independence and impartiality of any investigation into the loss of life,” the family claimed in their court filing.

They alleged the police were not keeping them informed of progress, while stories were being “fed to newspapers”.

The court filing claims Caruana Galizia’s murder was a “targeted killing” of a journalist whose work focused on politicians who are members of the same cabinet as the wife of the deputy commissioner.

It alleges the journalist had uncovered “corruption, criminality, conflicts of interest and ethical failures in decision making” by politicians and their associates.

She had also been critical of the failure of Malta’s anti-money-laundering agency, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, to take action on allegations, the filing states. Valletta serves on the board of the FIAU, a fact highlighted by Caruana Galizia in May.

The police department did not respond to questions about the merits of the legal claim or whether Valletta’s work on the case threatened the independence of the investigation.

Caruana said in a statement emailed to the Guardian that she would not comment on the family’s legal claim or who ought to investigate the case: “What matters is that there is total commitment from everyone involved to see this case solved in the shortest time possible.”

Caruana said she had been an MP since 2003 and her husband had been a police inspector since 1993.

“Both of us have always acted professionally in our respective roles and our integrity was never put in doubt or question. We always kept work separate and distinct from our private and married life.

“My husband has worked under different administrations and his loyalty was always to the police force and the state.”

The most significant investigations by the murdered journalist stemmed from the Panama Papers, a leak of documents from the archives of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca.

She used the data to uncover a number of offshore companies apparently linked to Muscat’s energy minister and his chief of staff. She also claimed Muscat’s wife was the beneficial owner of the offshore company Egrant. On her blog, she alleged that a series of payments, in the form of loans, had been routed to Egrant, and that the money had come from an account ultimately belonging to the daughter of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijan has a valuable contract to supply gas to Malta.

All those named deny any suggestion of wrongdoing, and Muscat has described the allegation against his wife as “fabricated”. He has pointed out that no document proving the allegations has been published or handed to a magistrate.

Muscat and his associates filed libel suits against Caruana Galizia before her murder. They are cooperating with two separate judicial inquiries into the Panama Papers allegations, which have yet to conclude.

Valletta’s marital relationship with a serving minister has been the subject of scrutiny in the past, but the current police commissioner, Lawrence Cutajar, has denied the existence of a conflict of interest. There is no evidence that Valletta’s political connections have interfered in the current investigation.

Valletta, who has been an officer for more than 20 years, has oversight of the criminal investigations department, the drug squad, counter-terrorism, and the financial crimes unit, among others.

Opposition politicians asked in the Maltese parliament earlier this month whether it was appropriate that a minister’s husband was leading the investigation into the murder of a harsh critic of the government. Simon Busuttil, who was leader of the opposition Nationalist party until June, told the parliament he was not questioning Valletta’s professionalism, but that in view of the sensitivity of the case justice had to be done, and be seen to be done.

Malta’s government is offering a €1m reward for information relating to the killing, and the inquiry is being assisted by agents from the FBI and forensics experts from the Netherlands.

The family have raised a number of concerns about the investigation, saying inquiries appear to be focusing only on forensic evidence, rather than examining financial transactions that could uncover vital evidence.

They also suggest leaks from within the police are potentially intimidating those who might come forward with information. These include news that Caruana Galizia’s phone had been recovered from the scene of the explosion.

Politicians across Europe have questioned the rule of law in Malta, the smallest of the European Union’s member states.

This month Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European commission, issued a strongly worded warning.
Responding to a public letter from eight of the world’s largest media organisations, including the New York Times, the BBC and the Guardian, he said: “The eyes of Europe are on the Maltese authorities … We want those directly and indirectly responsible for this horrible murder to be brought to justice.

“And we want the investigations to run their full course, so that any other related wrongdoings that may emerge can also be prosecuted and potential structural problems be resolved.”

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.malta journalist

Association north American Ethnic Journalists and writers  ( ANAJ)


I am a freelance journalist. Do I need to buy liability insurance?

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I am a freelance journalist. Do I need to buy liability insurance?

Heather O’Neill wins Quebec’s Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction Ryan B. Patrick ·

heather o neil

Heather O’Neill wins Quebec’s Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction

‘Montreal is in my DNA’: Meet Joshua Levy, CBC/QWF’s 2018 writer-in-residence

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‘Montreal is in my DNA’: Meet Joshua Levy, CBC/QWF’s 2018 writer-in-residence

An ex-Montrealer who has just returned to the fold, Levy is passionate about city’s history

By Loreen Pindera, CBC News Posted: Nov 21, 2017 7:04 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 21, 2017 8:52 PM ET

CBC Montreal is proud to announce writer Joshua Levy will be the 2018 CBC/Quebec Writers’ Federation writer-in-residence.

The poet, writer and storyteller recently moved back to Montreal from Toronto, but he has deep roots on this island.

“Montreal is in my DNA,” said Levy, who grew up in Côte Saint-Luc and is now on a mission to persuade his future wife, who is Scottish, that Montreal is the best city in Canada.

Bagg Street Shul

Joshua Levy’s great-great-grandfather built the Bagg Street Shul on the corner of Clark and Bagg streets, the oldest synagogue still in use in Canada. (Jason Schwartz/Wikimedia)

Levy’s great-great-grandfather, Boris Kaplan, emigrated from Russia as a teenager in the early 1900s, working odd jobs to bring over the rest of his family and founding a construction company in 1915. Kaplan built the oldest synagogue in Canada still in operation today, the Bagg Street Shul.

Levy was raised on tales about that great-great-grandfather, whose Hebrew name of Baruch he bears — including the story of how he had 15 minutes to woo his future bride.

​The streets of Dollard-des-Ormeaux are named after Levy’s relatives: The city on Montreal’s West Island was founded by Levy’s grandfather, David Zunenshine, who, along with his brothers, ran Belcourt, a property development company that began with the construction of a handful of rental apartments in the early 1950s.

All these connections make Levy passionate about Montreal’s rich history.

“I have a special interest in bridging the gap between past, present and future, as well as in connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated people and events,” Levy said in his pitch for the writer-in-residence position.

Association of North Ethnic Journalists and Writers (  ANAJ )  Canada


Thousands attend funeral of Maltese journalist killed while investigating corruption as warning issued to killers

malta journalist

Thousands attend funeral of Maltese journalist killed while investigating corruption as warning issued to killers

‘However hard you try to evade the justice of men, you will never escape from the justice of God

Thousands of mourners at a funeral for a Maltese anti-corruption journalist killed by a car bomb heard a plea for the protection of journalistic freedoms and a warning to her unknown killers.

Daphne Caruana Galizia‘s funeral was held at Malta’s biggest church, near the capital Valletta and two miles from the site where the 53-year-old was killed by a car bomb as she left her home.

The island’s president, prime minister and opposition leader, all targeted in Ms Galizia’s writing, stayed away from the private ceremony, but European Parliament President Antonio Tajani attended as a guest of the family.

Senator Lind Frum disrespect Iranian Nation in Canada Senate

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Senator Frum Must Apologize to Iranian-Canadians

On October 26, 2017 during the debate on Bill S219 (Non-nuclear Sanctions Against Iran Act) Senator Linda Frum said the following about Iran and Iranians:“Bill S-219 is grounded in a moral and ethical purpose, and that is to monitor one of the most maligned nations in the world and to calibrate our nation’s sanctions accordingly.”

Senator Frum’s discriminatory and anti-Iranian comment is a disrespect to the Iranian-Canadian community, one of the largest and fastest growing immigrant communities in Canada. It is estimated that over 300,000 Iranian-Canadians live across Canada. These individuals are an integral part of the Canadian multicultural fabric. In every city and province in Canada the positive contributions of the Iranian-Canadian community are evident. Iranian-Canadians are proud of their culture, their heritage and their ethnic and national origin.

Senator Frum must retract her comments publicly in the Senate of Canada and apologize to the Iranian-Canadian community.

We call on members and supporters of the Iranian Canadian Congress to contact their Senators and ask them to keep Linda Frum accountable for her discriminatory comments against Iranians. 

Follow this link to email your Senators:

Sentor Frum must realize that while this kind of charged and irresponsible rhetoric is becoming a part of the daily politics south of the border, here in our multicultural and diverse Canada we do not accept this language.


UK protesters mark 100 years since Balfour Declaration


UK protesters mark 100 years since Balfour Declaration

Palestinian activists in London took to the streets on the centenary of the divisive Balfour Declaration.

 |  | PalestineIsraelMiddle EastUnited Kingdom

Prominent Palestinian activist and politician Mustafa Barghouti was among several thousand people who joined a protest on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in central London last week.

“It’s important for me to be here today and for Palestinians to feel the solidarity of the British people. It’s important to see how the British people are against the position of the British government,” Barghouti said.

“The Balfour Declaration is not over. It is being implemented today across Palestine. It led to the ethnic cleansing during the Nakba, but it is not finished. It led to Israel’s apartheid regime, which is worse than the apartheid regime that existed in South Africa.”

The 1917 declaration realised the Zionist aim of creating a Jewish state in Palestine after Britain pledged to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” there.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

A presenter at Radio Shabelle reads the news. With a population that is still one of the world's poorest, radio continues to be one of the primary sources of information for many in Somalia. AU-UN IST PHOTO / TOBIN JONES.

UNITED NATIONS:  Over the past 11 years, more than 900 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle. UNESCO is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

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