The pre-trial council of Brussels has decided to extend the preventive detention of Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP at the centre of the corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament, for another two months.
Kaili was arrested by Belgian police on December 9 and later charged with participation in a criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering as part of what has been dubbed ‘Qatargate’ corruption case. Over €150,000 in cash was found in her Brussels residence.
Pier Antonio Pancheri, Kaili's domestic partner and father to her daughter, Francesco Giorgi, was also arrested and accused of the exact same crimes. He also remains in prison.
In what was the third appearance before the pre-trial council of Brussels for her release request, Kaili was ordered to remain in prison for at least two more months, despite her defence lawyer's impassioned pleas for a release under electronic surveillance via an ankle bracelet.
Kaili’s new Belgian defence lawyer, Mr. Sven Marie, had asked the judges to release her on parole or at least put her under house arrest with an electronic bracelet, in order to be near to her 24-month-old daughter, however the request was denied.
Kaili’s lawyers have the right to appeal the decision within twenty-four hours and after fifteen days the Court of Appeal will decide whether or not to remain in custody.
Kaili’s lawyers have repeatedly complained about the “inhumane” and “medieval” conditions she has experienced in her detainment. They also condemned the fact that she had only been allowed two visits with her infant daughter since her arrest in December.
Meanwhile, Kaili’s partner Pancheri, the alleged Qatargate mastermind, signed a memorandum of cooperation with Belgian authorities, undertaking to make substantial, revealing, true and complete statements about the involvement of third parties and, if applicable, his own involvement in criminal offences within the case. This memorandum provides for a limited sentence for Pancheri including serving at least one year of a five year prison sentence either in prison or with an electronic wristband, a fine and confiscation of all acquired property benefits, worth one million euros.
Kaili’s defence team plans to appeal the decision to extend her detention and continues to insist on her innocence.
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