'No protection' for killers of Maltese reporter: minister

People hold portraits as they stand beside lighted candles placed in memory of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on the sixth month anniversary of her death at a makeshift memorial outside the law courts in Valletta, Malta on April 16, 2018

No one will be protected during a probe into the death of a Maltese journalist who had been investigating corruption by politicians on the island, Malta's foreign minister told AFP Tuesday.

Three men have been arrested over the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, who died in a car bomb on October 16 last year just down the road from her residence on the island.

They have pleaded not guilty but are suspected of carrying out the attack on behalf of someone else.

"The government wants to know whether they acted on their own or whether someone sent them and who are these people," Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela told AFP in Paris.

"Whoever he, she or they are, they will be prosecuted in accordance with the law... no one is going to be protected," he added.

Since the murder, 45 journalists from 18 media outlets around the world have worked together to continue Caruana Galizia's work by poring over a mass of documents she left behind.

"I can understand the international media's attention on this case, it's unprecedented, it's a case that merits attention," Abela said.

"But I would like to know the reasons behind that. There was another case, unfortunately, when a journalist and his girlfriend in Slovakia were killed, I'm not seeing the same fuss that this consortium of journalists is making on this case," he added.

Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in February, leading the European Parliament to pass a resolution last week calling for a full and independent investigation.

In the years leading up to her death, Caruana Galizia had gone after the ruling Labour party, virulently attacking Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and more recently also the leader of the opposition.

Articles based on her work have since focused on abuses of Malta's "golden passport" law which allows foreigners to buy Maltese citizenship for one million euros, providing that the buyer has resided on the island for at least one year.

Another article outlined dubious links between the Azerbaijani and Maltese governments.