Qatargate Kailis lawyers To get out of jail they told

Qatargate, Kaili’s lawyers: To get out of jail, they told her to plead guilty

by Francesca Basso and Giuseppe Guastella

The accusation: the judges suggested it to her from the start, but she didn’t want to stigmatize her daughter

“They suggested from the moment Eva Kaili pleaded guilty to being released from prison so she could finally hug her daughter again.” With the same frankness and determination with which he argued in the Brussels courtroom that the treatment of Eva Kaili after her arrest was medieval “torture”, Greek lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos is now laying new, serious charges against the Belgian judiciary.

Last Thursday, judges at the Brussels Council chamber reassessed the precautionary conditions that kept the former vice-president of the European Parliament in Haren prison for more than six weeks. Kaili was arrested in the investigation into alleged Qatari-Moroccan interference in the European Parliament with the payment of bribes which were passed on to former Pd and Article 1 MP Antonio Panzeri’s NGO Fight Impunity, and Kaili had her sentence extended by one more month extended.

The woman has always maintained her innocence and told the police and investigating judge Michel Claise that she knew nothing about the affairs between Panzeri and Francesco Giorgi, the father of her 23-month-old daughter, through the NGO. As he repeated in the report that until the day of his partner’s arrest, which took place on December 9, he did not know that there was 750,000 euros in cash in their home, 600,000 of which were found by the police in the shopping trolley Kaili’s father, Alexandros, was dragged out of the luxury hotel Sophitel in Brussels. The man had received a phone call from his daughter asking him to come to her house to pick up a suitcase to take back to Panzeri.

The former Greek TV journalist was immediately exonerated by her partner Giorgi, but investigators did not believe the couple’s version, were convinced that the woman was part of Panzeri’s network and tried to help him disappear the money, the result of the corrupt maneuvers to let. And indeed, they accuse her of corruption and trying to hide the fruits of a crime.

In six weeks in prison, the Pasok MP was only able to meet her daughter twice, the first time on Epiphany. “Despite the fact that separation from her little girl is the greatest psychological torture, she has not agreed to confess to something she has not done,” continues lawyer Dimitrakopoulos.

During the two lengthy interrogations, first with the criminal police and then with Claise, Kaili repeated several times that she had never preferred Qatar or Morocco as an MEP and that she firmly supported her colleagues in her political arena. When Judge Claise accused her of meeting Giorgi with Gulf State Labor Minister Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri at the Hotel Steigenberger Wiltcher in Brussels, Kaili said it was an official date in preparation for the Qataris’ hearing at the Workers’ Rights Sub-Commission on March 14 November. The prosecution notes that Giorgi and Panzeri would have gone to the same hotel but at a different time: the latter had a full bag with him when he left.

The former vice-president of the European Parliament “doesn’t want her daughter to inherit the stigma of a mother who was a corrupt politician, because that’s not true,” continues lawyer Dimitrakoupulos. “With these thoughts in mind, Eva Kaili fought in the council chamber, speaking clear words with dignity and providing concrete arguments for publication.” Without “trying to move anyone, just to convince them of their innocence”. Despite this, “she trembled as she told the judge, who was a woman, about the torture she had endured, not in prison but in the police cell. “What he experienced is reminiscent of the film Midnight Express (the film complaint about the conditions of prisoners in Turkish prisons in the 70s, editor’s note), but unfortunately this is happening in the middle of Europe”.

The protest doesn’t stop there. The Greek lawyer is ready to continue the legal dispute: «Next week we will appeal to the Supreme Court. If someone is arrested, they are immediately protected by the law. I wonder if it was the same in Brussels?’

January 21, 2023 (change January 21, 2023 | 22:44)