Two men accused of murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia have accused government ministers of an "abuse of public authority" in their decision to reject a pardon request.

On Monday, the cabinet said it had decided to advise President George Vella against granting Alfred and George Degiorgio immunity from the murder and other serious crimes.

In their request, the two brothers claimed they could implicate a former minister in the assassination and a sitting minister in a botched 2010 HSBC bank heist.

In a judicial protest filed on Tuesday, the brother said the State was "conflicted” because its interest lies in protecting itself from the wrong committed by its members, rather than trying to get to the truth behind the crimes.

They said they feared this would happen because the first-hand information they were “more than willing” to disclose could lead to the “successful prosecution” of a former minister and a sitting minister.

They said it was precisely for that reason that they had requested a meeting with MEPs, since such “hidden interests” gave them no hope of a fair hearing even in respect of their request for a pardon to reveal all. 

Saying that the “institutions are working” is nothing but a “mantra” to mask reality, because a normal state would do all it can to solve all crimes, particularly those of a most serious nature, it said.

But, in this case, the state totally “froze and turned rigid” once a former and present member of cabinet were mentioned by the protesting parties, they said.

'Repugnant'

They said it was repugnant to note that the state itself, or part thereof, was involved as mastermind or otherwise in murder or other crimes.

The information they possessed was “direct and not hearsay,” yet the state chose to make arrangements with someone who did not have similar information but relied instead on what he was told by the Degiorgios.

That person was now stating that no one could challenge his truth, they said, referring to former co-accused Vincent Muscat, who received a reduced sentence in return for his information. 

The brothers said that not only had they not received an acknowledgement of their pardon request, they had not been spoken to by the attorney general or the police commissioner before cabinet was advised to recommend a refusal. 

Although minister Carmelo Abela, who denies accusations of being involved in the heist, was reported to have abstained from the cabinet discussion, this did not mean that it was free of all conflicts of interest, they said. 

In light of all this, the cabinet decision was not based on principles of natural justice and was hence null and invalid, amounting to abuse of public authority and not to be followed. 

The Degiorgios called upon the president not to abide by cabinet’s advice.

On Monday, the government said cabinet had decided against the pardon after weighing the advice provided by the attorney general and the police commissioner.

Muscat was also denied a request for a presidential pardon to reveal information on three more major crimes.

He has separately received a pardon for his involvement in the murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop.

Lawyer William Cuschieri signed the protest

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