Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Italian court asks for data on Belgian prisons

BRESCIA, Italy ( Associated Press) — An Italian court said Tuesday it would seek information on Belgian prison conditions before deciding whether to hand over a woman to trial in Brussels that shocked the European Parliament. Have kept ,

Brussels wants lawyer Silvia Panzeri to answer charges of involvement in a criminal group, corruption and money laundering. But prosecutor Umberto Valerina said the hearing in the northern city of Brescia has been postponed until January 3 while he awaits a report from the Italian Justice Ministry.

A panel of judges upheld a defense motion to seek information from the justice minister on whether Belgian prisons maintain acceptable conditions and comply with human rights conventions, which could include a data-gathering mission .

Belgian prison workers often complain of staff shortages, low pay and poor conditions. Strikes have been taking place every Wednesday in some prisons in Brussels for weeks.

Silvia Panzeri, 38, daughter of former European MP Antonio Panzeri, jailed for a week in Belgium on suspicion of accepting money or gifts to try to influence the European Parliament in favor of representatives from Qatar or Morocco has gone. ,

Italian judges ruled on Monday that Maria Dolores Coloni, the mother of Silvia Panzeri, could be handed over to Belgian authorities under an arrest warrant, according to which she delivered gifts from Qatar and Morocco.

Mother and daughter have the same defense attorney, said lawyer Angelo De Riso, who requested that prison conditions at the colony be verified, but another panel of judges rejected the request.

Antonio Panzeri and three others were charged on 9 December with corruption, participation in a criminal group, and money laundering. Belgian prosecutors are investigating whether “he was paid large sums of money or offered large gifts to influence decisions in parliament.”

This is one of the most serious scandals ever to affect the European Parliament. Lawmakers shut down work last week over issues related to Qatar and vowed to tighten rules on lobbying. Qatar strongly denies any involvement. Morocco’s foreign ministry declined to comment on Tuesday.

If found guilty, Silvia Panzeri and her mother could face up to five years in prison. Both are under house arrest.

The former Vice President of the European Parliament is in jail in Belgium awaiting trial in Belgium. Nicolo Figa-Talamanca, secretary general of the NGO No Hay Paz Sin Justicia, also implicated in the scandal, is free, but must wear an electronic bracelet.

Nation World News Desk
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