The funeral has taken place for anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, with Malta’s archbishop warning her killers “you will never escape from the justice of God”.
More than 1,500 people packed the Rotunda Parish Church near to where the 53-year-old was killed by a car bomb as she drove away from her home on 16 October.
Hundreds gathered outside applauded as her coffin was carried into the church, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna warned the journalist’s murderers: “However hard you try to evade from the justice of men, you will never escape from the justice of God.”
Mourners included Ms Caruana Galizia’s husband, her three adult sons and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.
Malta’s top politicians stayed away at the request of her family, who have criticised the government for not dealing with the corruption she covered in her blog, Running Commentary.
Ms Caruana Galizia also wrote twice a week for the Malta Independent and at the time of her death was being sued in 42 libel cases.
Witnesses described seeing two explosions coming from her car and the vehicle skidding down the road at high speed, before ending up in fire in a field.
Her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, said he found his mother’s body in pieces.
The assassination sparked outrage in Malta, and among many journalists and politicians in Europe and worldwide, who view it as an attack on free speech.
Archbishop Scicluna used his funeral address to make a direct appeal for Ms Caruana Galizia’s contemporaries to continue her work.
“Dear journalists, we need you,” he said. “We need people in your profession who are unshackled, who are free, intelligent, inquisitive, honest, serene, safe and protected.”
People outside the church sang the national anthem and clapped as the coffin was carried out by Ms Caruana Galizia’s sons.
The journalist’s articles probed issues such as government officials named in the Panama Papers leaks, Malta’s reputation as a tax haven, and links with Libya.
Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, has confirmed it has sent three experts to the Mediterranean island to help investigate.
“They are working directly with the investigation team established by Malta police and their task is to support the investigation wherever it may lead,” said Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth.
Police are looking at similarities with five other unsolved car bombings in Malta over the last two years.
Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, often a target of Caruana Galizia’s articles, has vowed no stone will be left unturned, and has offered a €1m (£890,000) reward to bring her killers to justice.
However, the journalist’s family issued a stinging response last week on Facebook.
It said: “A government and a police force that failed our mother in life will also fail her in death. The people who for as long as we can remember sought to silence our mother cannot now be the ones to deliver justice.”