BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) — Lawyers for the former vice president of the European Parliament at the center of a corruption scandal complained Thursday about the conditions of their client’s detention and called for his release.
Eva Kelli, a European lawmaker from Greece, was removed as vice-president of the European Parliament after she was arrested in early December on charges of corruption, money laundering and membership of a criminal organization. She denies the allegations.
“Once again, we ask that Mrs. Kelly be released from prison under alternative measures, such as electronic bracelets or other similar measures,” lawyer Andre Risopoulos said after a hearing in a Brussels court.
Risopoulos said that Kelly was in isolation earlier this month. Another lawyer, Michaelis Dimitrakopoulos, called his client’s treatment “torture”.
“For 16 hours he was in the police cell, not the jail… They refused to give him another blanket. He took off his jacket. This is torture,” he said. “The light was on the whole time. I couldn’t sleep”.
Belgian prosecutors suspect that Qatar and Morocco have arranged for Cali, former MP Pier Antonio Panzeri; The legislator’s colleague and friend of Panzeri, Francesco Georgi, and Nicolo Figa-Talamanca, leader of the charity group No Peace Without Justice, tried to influence decision-making in the assembly. Both countries deny the allegations.
The federal prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that Panzeri agreed to turn informant and reveal more information about the scam in exchange for a reduced sentence. He promised to tell investigators the names of those involved and what financial arrangements were made with other countries.
The scam came to light on 9 December 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 at a Brussels hotel. Mobile phones and computer and data equipment were seized.