The murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is an egregious attack on press freedom and a barbaric crime against journalists, PEN America said today.

On Monday, October 16, Caruana Galizia, who led the Panama Papers investigation into government corruption on the island of Malta, was killed in an explosion just 30 minutes after posting her final story to her blog. Caruana Galizia, described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks,” was known for her fierce critiques of Malta’s politicians and organized crime gangs, according to The Guardian.

Caruana Galizia’s most recent investigation singled out Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat and two of his aides, linking them to the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan. Prime Minister Muscat denounced Caruana Galizia’s murder on Monday, vowing to see justice done in the case. But in a Facebook post published the morning after his mother’s death, Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew criticized the prime minister and condemned Malta as a “mafia state.”

“The killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia is an attack against all journalists dedicated to the crucial and difficult work of investigating corruption,” said Laura Macomber, PEN America Journalism and Press Freedom Project Manager. “Investigators cannot allow her murder to become yet another example of an unresolved crime against a journalist.”

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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