European lawmaker Eva Kaili’s lawyer, Andre Risopolous, second left, speaks to the media after a hearing at the Palace of Justice in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert )
BRUSSELS (AP) — Lawyers for the former European Parliament vice president at the center of the corruption scandal on Thursday complained about her client’s detention conditions and called for her release.
European lawmaker Eva Kaili, from Greece, was ousted from her position as vice-president of the European Parliament after being arrested in early December on charges of corruption, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization. She denies the accusations.
“Once again, we have asked that Mrs. Kaili be released from prison under alternative measures, such as an electronic bracelet or other similar measures,” lawyer André Risopoulos said after a hearing in a Brussels court.
Risopoulos reported that Kaili was in isolation earlier this month. Another lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, called his treatment of his client “torture.”
“For 16 hours he was in a police cell, and not in jail… They denied him a second blanket. They took off his jacket. This is torture,” he said. “The light was on the whole time. He couldn’t sleep”.
Belgian prosecutors suspect that Qatar and Morocco paid Kaili, former parliamentarian Pier Antonio Panzeri; the legislator’s partner and friend of Panzeri, Francesco Georgi, and Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, leader of the charity group No Peace Without Justice, to influence decision-making in the assembly. Both countries deny the accusations.
The federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that Panzeri agreed to become an informant and reveal more information about the scandal in exchange for a lesser sentence. He promised to tell investigators the names of those involved and what financial arrangements were made with other countries.
The scandal came to light on December 9, after police carried out more than 20 raids, mainly in Belgium and Italy. Hundreds of thousands of euros were found at an address and in a suitcase in a Brussels hotel. Mobile phones and computer and data equipment were seized.
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