The man facing life in jail over his alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for the “suspension or termination” of the public inquiry into her death claiming that it is breaching his human rights. 

In a letter to the Council of Europe, Fenech requested that immediate action be taken to safeguard the integrity of all ongoing judicial proceedings. He claims that his rights to a fair trial and to respect for private and family life are being breached. 

The letter was addressed to the President of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, President of the CoE's Monitoring Committee, the President of the CoE's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights; the Speaker of the Maltese House of Representatives Anġlu Farrugia; Prime Minister Robert Abela, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, the State Advocate Chris Soler and the board of the public inquiry.

Through his lawyer, Juliette Galea, Fenech demanded “necessary steps in the interests of justice” including through “the suspension or termination of the operation” of the independent public inquiry until his rights, “as a person subject to criminal proceedings in relation to the assassination… may be correctly determined and safeguarded at law.”  

“At a minimum, before any findings that impact upon his civil and criminal liability are made, determination of Yorgen Fenech’s rights must include the right to legal representation,” the letter states.

These included the right to participate, comment on and present evidence, as well as the provision of “accurate and complete copies of all the records of the proceedings, held so far” in the public inquiry, both those held in public and those behind closed doors and giving him the opportunity to “record his reactions” within the acts of the inquiry. 

In November last year, Fenech was arrested on board his yacht and later charged in court with conspiring to murder Caruana Galizia in a car bomb in October 2017.

Three other men, Vincent Muscat, Alfred Degiorgio and his brother, George, are accused of carrying out the assassination.

The public inquiry is tasked to find out if the state could have prevented the murder of the journalist, who had exposed corruption at the highest levels of power in Malta. 

In the letter, Fenech's lawyer claimed that there were matters “of grave concern regarding the conduct of the independent public inquiry”, saying it had failed to provide Fenech with basic “procedural and substantive” rights as guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

“The concept of a public inquiry was birthed as an upshot of parliamentary accountability and the findings of an inquiry should be directed towards the executive and legislative arms of the State. A public inquiry ought to have nothing to do with a judicial process seeking to establish criminal guilt,” the letter continued. 

“As such, the operation of the public inquiry should have been scrupulous in avoiding impinging upon the remit of any judicial process and any evidence already compiled in relation to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia."

Extending her client’s “condemnation without reserve for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination”, the letter said Fenech hoped that “justice will be served upon those truly responsible for this terrible act”.

The lengthy letter also complained about the make up of the board, the lack of a counsel to guide it and its failure to consider three requests seeking it to comply with Fenech's human rights.

Attached files

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