“I spoke to Nicolo on the phone. I heard it out loud, confident of proving his innocence. I’m his older brother, I’ve known him since he was born, I know how he’s doing and how he lived. And I know what’s coming out these days has nothing to do with him.
It doesn’t surprise me that he knew Antonio Panzeri. It was impossible not to know him when doing Niccolò’s work. He was a prominent figure, he was chairman of the European Parliament’s human rights committee. But I’m sure Niccolo never knew anything about illegal money. Seeing him in his cell today will please the many regimes he has disturbed with his work over the years. I am not surprised to read in the newspapers the suspicion that the investigation was triggered by the United Arab Emirates.” For the first time since December 9, the day of the Qatargate raid, family members are speaking out about the most remote and least known Italians arrested for criminal association and corruption. Niccolò Figà Talamanca is the son of a great mathematician and secretary of the association No Peace without Justice: one of the NGOs mentioned in the poll that rocked the European Parliament.
His brother Giovanni, a university professor in Rome, learned on December 27 of the Belgian judges’ decision to keep Niccolò in a cell for another month. “It’s a decision that I didn’t expect,” he says, “we found that the Belgian judicial system allows the unlimited use of pre-trial detention during an investigation, which can also be based on abstract elements. They may be concerned that if my brother comes out, he might make an arrangement with other suspects or possible suspects, but we really can’t think of what might have convinced the judges he might be involved.
How can you be so sure? who is his brother
«Niccolò is someone who, since graduating from high school, has decided to work for what he believes in: justice, the rights of the weakest.
Over the years, that mission has turned into a job. He is an idealist and pragmatist, he has worked in very difficult conditions, from Kosovo to Sierra Leone. Without him, the International Criminal Court would not exist, and the evidence of Milosevic’s crimes would not have been collected.
The club he runs has been doing this for years. He’s not a politician, he’s a human rights engineer used to moving in wartime scenarios.”
But it is co-headquartered with Fight Impunity, Panzeri’s NGO, “like other associations that have asked for support.”
Panzeri’s NGO was a front company for covert lobbying.
“I read that was the result of the investigation. But by December 9, Panzeri was a revered character».
His brother went to Doha with Panzeri.
“Perhaps because he thought it was an opportunity for the human rights cause, also to make useful connections for his work.”
And to get funding?
«No peace without justice is a complex machine and of course needs financial resources. The main source of income has been European tenders for years. When those funds ran out, she had to survive mostly on funds from public and private entities, which included George Soros. But all earnings are reported and public. No sacks of cash were found in Niccolo’s house.”
They confiscated a house in Cervinia.
«A modest and almost dilapidated apartment, bought at market prices with a mortgage and traceable bank transactions: it’s all in the files. Look, knowing Niccolò, I don’t rule out that he might not have noticed that heinous things are happening next to him: he always looks up, that’s part of him, that he’s an idealist. But somehow he expected something similar to what is happening to him.
What do you mean?
«During the advocacy campaign for the widow of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, who was hacked at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, he realized that the secret services were following him step by step. Then, this year, the dossiers were presented that document human rights violations and the conspiracy plot set up by the United Arab Emirates. These are very influential countries and it is entirely plausible that they tried to force them to pay. He said, “I’m not afraid for my physical safety, but the real risk is that if we’re being paid by a foreign country, they’re going to try to delegitimize us, make us appear corrupt.” they won’t.”