The United States is condemning, in the strongest terms, the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia who was investigating alleged government corruption.
“It was a cowardly attack that took the life of a talented and brave … reporter who dedicated her career to fighting the rule of law and shining a light on corruption,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
She said the FBI has responded quickly to the prime minister’s call for U.S. help in the investigation. A Dutch forensic team is also in Malta to help.
Monday’s blast blew up Galizia’s car just moments after she left her home. It set the vehicle on fire and sent it careening into a field.
Galizia’s son saw his mother’s car explode, but there was nothing he could do to save her.
“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia wrote on Facebook. “She was also targeted because she was the only person doing so.”
Several hundred people protested her murder outside the Maltese courthouse Tuesday.
Galizia was investigating alleged ties between Maltese government officials and offshore banks and companies that are often used to avoid paying taxes.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was among those under suspicion because of information gleaned from leaked documents known as the Panama Papers, which gave details on the tax havens.
Muscat denied any wrongdoing and sued Galizia. But he condemned her killing and vowed to investigate.
Just 30 minutes before her death, Galizia wrote on her blog “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”