VALLETTA (Reuters) - Maltese police have arrested 10 suspects in the murder of anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, the country’s prime minister said on Monday, almost two months after she was killed when her car was blown up.
All of the suspects are Maltese nationals and most have a criminal record, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, without providing any further details. The police have 48 hours to question the suspects, arraign them or release them.
Muscat initially announced eight arrests at a press conference, then later said on Twitter that two more had been apprehended.
“Authorities have all areas of interest under control since early this morning and searches are underway,” he said.
A section of Lighters Wharf in Marsa was sealed off early on Monday as helicopters circled above. Military and police used sniffer dogs to search.
Caruana Galizia, 53, was murdered on Oct. 16 as she was driving away from her house in northern Malta.
She wrote a popular blog in which she relentlessly highlighted cases of alleged graft targeting politicians from across party lines.
Galizia was following leads from the Panama Papers, which were leaked in 2015 and show how the world’s rich use offshore firms to hide their wealth. She had also accused senior figures in the government and opposition of corruption and money laundering.
All have denied the accusations and Galizia was hit with 36 libel suits in the nine months preceding her death.
Her murder shocked Malta and raised concern within the European Union about the rule of law on the Mediterranean island. Concluding a fact-finding mission on Friday, a group of EU lawmakers said there was a “perception of impunity” in Malta.
Reporting by Chris Scicluna, writing by Steve Scherer, editing by Crispian Balmer and Larry King