Belgian judges decided and announced that Greek MEP Eva Kaili must remain in prison for at least another month following her testimony on Thursday because of her involvement in the Qatargate scandal.
Her lawyers, as they told the journalists gathered outside the courthouse in the Belgian capital earlier today, argued before the judges that the Greek MEP is innocent, has not been bribed and is cooperating with the authorities.
They did not manage to convince, however, the Belgian Justice.
According to the official announcement of the Belgian prosecutor, if Eva Kaili appeals against this decision within 24 hours, she will appear again before the court (see Appeals Examination Division) within 15 days.
The official announcement mentions only the initials of Mrs. Kaili (E.K.), emphasising that it was decided to extend her detention for one month. They also said that no further information will be released at this time as the investigation is ongoing.
Earlier, the lawyer of the Greek MEP, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, speaking on ALPHA's main news bulletin, had essentially prescribed the decision of the Belgian Justice, explaining the reasoning of the prosecutor.
The official announcement of the Belgian prosecutor
Her Greek lawyer, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, speaking in hesitant French, according to Politico, said: “Ms. Eva Kaili is innocent. Never been corrupted, never,” before switching to English and adding: “Eva Kaili is innocent. The hearing is secret.”
When asked if Kaili knew about the hidden money — that is, the €150,000 that Belgian police found at her apartment — Dimitrakopoulos said: “No, never. Never corrupted.”
“The process is confidential. The decision will be made this afternoon. We have presented all our arguments. Ms. Kaili has never been bribed, Ms. Kaili is innocent,” Dimitrakopoulos added, before heading back inside the building on the damp Brussels morning.
The investigation has included widespread leaks to the press, which has pushed the Belgian federal prosecutor to open an investigation into the source of the leaks.
This prompted her other lawyer, Brussels-based André Risopolous, to ask reporters not to seek “anything else,” while “the fate of Ms. Kaili is for the moment in the hands of the Belgian justice.”
Risopolous added that he had never seen such “violations” of the legal obligation to secrecy in the investigation.
“We will not make any other statement because it is prejudicial to the defense of Ms. Kaili and to the manifestation of the truth in a case of this nature,” Risopolous added.
Another suspect in the case, Niccolò Figà-Talamanca — secretary general of the NGO No Peace Without Justice — was put under electronic surveillance last week, but the federal prosecutor has appealed this decision and wants him locked up as well.