BRUSSELS – Greek Member of European Parliament Eva Kaili, accused of taking bribes from Qatar – along with her husband who’s also detained – will have to stay in jail another two months in Brussels.
That was the decision of a pre-trial council, said the news agency Belga, although she appealed to be released on condition of wearing electronic surveillance to be with the couple’s infant daughter.
Then one of the Parliament’s Vice-Presidents, she was arrested on Dec. 9, 2022 after police raids reportedly found 150,000 euros ($159,590) in cash in her Brussels apartment and 600,000 euros ($638,358) in a suitcase her father was holding at a hotel in the European Union capital.
This was the third time Kaili appeared before the council since her arrest, and she has a right to appeal the decision again. After Kaili’s hearing, her new defense lawyer Sven Mary asked for her release on parole or house arrest.
Her parliamentary immunity was lifted on the spot and she was later charged with participation in a criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering although her husband, Francesco Giorgi, took all the blame.
Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella, former MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri and NGO director Niccolò Figà-Talamanca were also arrested and charged, although Figà-Talamanca was released without condition, noted EuroNews.
Another MEP, Andrea Cozzolino, was arrested recently in Naples and Belgian authorities have requested his extradition from Italy while Panzeri, the presumed ringleader, made a plea deal, admitting actions of bribery in return for revealing the scheme although Qatar denied any involvement.
Kaili was with the Parliament’s Socialist group S & D and keeps her title with them and is still being paid while in jail, the news site said.
Her lawyers have defended her innocence and complained shewas kept in inhumane and “Medieval” conditions in a police station before being moved to a prison outside the city.
They said she was allowed only limited visits with her 2-year-old daughter brought to see her although a plea she made through the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola was supported by only 10 Italian Socialists, the report said.
“This is not about the judicial investigation, that we fully support. This is about the detention conditions that, if proved, are incompatible with the European rule of law,” MEP Massimiliano Smeriglio, the promoter behind the letter, told Euronews.
Before her hearing, Kaili fired her Belgian lawyer, André Risopoulo, and chosen as replacement Sven Mary, who represented one of the terrorists behind the deadly 2015 Paris attacks.
The BBC said he has been nicknamed “Scumbag’s lawyer,” for representing violent criminals and terrorists supporting jihadists as well as the accomplice of a notorious pedophile among his clients as well.
“If someone becomes just a symbol and the detention is done on the symbolism of detaining someone because she is known because she is Vice-President of the European Parliament, I think it makes no sense,” Mary told reporters.