Malta police chief resigns over slain journalist case
January 17, 2020
Malta's police chief has resigned following criticism of his handling of the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. New Prime Minister Robert Abela has vowed to improve the rule of law in Malta.
Malta's police chief resigned on Friday following ongoing criticism of his handling of the 2017 murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist who investigated corruption.
The country's new prime minister, Robert Abela, announced Lawrence Cutajar's resignation on Friday, four days after taking office with a pledge to improve the rule of law on the island nation.
"In his resignation letter, Mr Cutajar wrote that the appointment of a new prime minister demanded change so that necessary reforms to the [police] force could start taking place," Abela said in a press conference.
Caruana Galizia's son Paul tweeted that he had called for the resignation two years ago.
"How they mocked us when, a day after my mother was assassinated, we called for the resignations of the prime minister, police commissioner, and attorney general, and the investigation of Keith Schembri," he wrote.
"Watch them fall," he added.
Activist group Occupy Justice said the resignation was "long overdue."
With a Cabinet reshuffle earlier this week, he hoped to give Malta's ruling Labour party a new lease of life. However, the attorney general, Peter Grech, has remained in his role despite widespread calls for his resignation.
What does Cutajar's resignation mean?
Ex-police chief Cutajar received criticism from international bodies for his reluctance to investigate allegations of financial crime relating to the top aide of former Prime Minister Muscat.
In January 2018, a delegation of EU lawmakers noted a "lack of police action, despite the very serious evidence of maladministration involving even members of the Maltese government."
Caruana Galizia's sons, along with a number of activist groups, have long fought for justice for their mother, accusing senior government figures of being complicit in her murder or failing to hold up the rule of law.
Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb attack, fought to expose and denounce corruption linked to Malta's elite.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister spoke to DW shortly after Yorgen Fenech appeared in a Valetta court.