Updated: 18/10/17 : 06:59:06
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World :: Murdered Maltese journalist's son hits out at 'mafia state'

The son of an investigative journalist killed in a car bomb attack in Malta has denounced what he called the country's "mafia state".

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, died in an explosion shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta, on Monday.

She was known for her blog accusing top politicians of corruption.

"My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it," said her son Matthew, who was close to the blast.

The head of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajini, called for a full investigation.

"To kill a journalist it is incredible in 2017 with a bomb, it is incredible," he told the BBC. "Why kill a journalist? Probably because the journalist was close to one important point."

In a lengthy Facebook post published hours after Matthew Caruana Galizia attempted to save his mother from the burning vehicle, he accused Maltese police of incompetence and the government of "impunity".

"When the institutions of the state are incapacitated, the last person left standing is often a journalist," wrote Mr Caruana Galizia, who is also a journalist.

He also took aim at Malta's projected image as a liberal Western nation.

"Yes, this is where we are: a mafia state where you can now change your gender on your ID card (thank God for that!) but where you will be blown to pieces for exercising your basic freedoms," he said.

A government spokesman, Kurt Farrugia, denied the government operated with impunity, and promised a "very tough" and thorough investigation.

Panama Papers

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of the government and effectively triggered an early election this year by publishing allegations linking Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal.

Mr Muscat and his wife denied claims they used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family - and he was returned to power in the election, despite the controversy.

Caruana Galizia's popular blog had also targeted opposition politicians, calling the country's political situation "desperate" in her final post.

After her death, Mr Muscat denounced the killing, calling it an attack "on the freedom of expression in our country."