Three charged with murder of Maltese journalist

A man covers his head with his jacket as he is escorted into court in Valleta

Three Maltese men were charged last night with killing the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia using a vehicle bomb allegedly triggered from a boat off the coast of Malta.

The men pleaded not guilty, according to local media, which named the men as brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, all in their fifties.

The three main suspects arrived under heavy police escort at the court late Tuesday and were represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

The victim's husband, Peter Caruana Galizia, was among those who attended the hearing in Malta's capital Valletta.

She was a leading investigative reporter and had a widely read blog which she used to expose crime on Malta, focusing on corruption, drug-trafficking and scandals involving the country's elite.

Seven other men, all of them Maltese, were released on bail as authorities continue the investigation into those already charged, who all have previous criminal records.

Prior to her death she accused Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of wrongdoing, linking him and his wife to the Panama Papers - some of which detailed financial information including fraud and tax evasion.

A group of European Union lawmakers said there was a "perception of impunity" on the island.

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