Two brothers who stand accused of killing journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia claim their right to a fair hearing has been breached by a Council of Europe report which assumed their guilt.
George and Alfred Degiorgio filed a fresh constitutional case on Friday, complaining that Peter Omtzigt's report into the murder breached their fundamental human rights.
It is the latest in a string of constitutional cases they have filed.
This time they are claiming breaches to their fundamental right to a fair trial and their right to liberty and security.
The Degiorgio brothers complained that in his report, Peter Omtzigt assumed they were guilty of the murder but had been acting under instructions from a third party.
They were arrested together with Vincent Muscat, known as 'il-Koħħu', on December 4, 2017 and charged with the journalist’s murder. From the very beginning, their case was given undue haste, including in the compilation of evidence against them, they said.
The Council of Europe had appointed Pieter Omtzigt as a rapporteur to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) about the assassination and the rule of law in Malta.
Omtzigt stated that he would proceed on the basis of three assumptions: firstly that the murder was “planned and premeditated long in advance”; secondly that the persons ultimately responsible for Mrs Caruana Galizia’s death “were motivated by her investigative work”; and thirdly, that the “three arrested suspects were most likely acting under instructions”;
The report continued that the Degiorgio brothers, “if not soon indicted…will have to be released without ever having given evidence in court. No one has been arrested for ordering the assassination.”
The Omtzigt report criticised the Maltese authorities for being “unable to conduct timely proceedings even against the suspected hitmen who killed Ms Caruana Galizia, let alone whomever ordered the assassination.”
In their application, the Degiorgio brothers said the statement contained in the report were clearly intended to give the impression that they were guilty of the murder, thereby breaching their presumption of innocence.
They asked the court to declare that the breaches had taken place and to issue orders to protect their rights, plus compensation.