Prison strike pushes Eva Kaili’s court session to Dec. 22
Eva Kaili will have to wait for her first day in court — it’s strike season in Belgium.
The prominent European Parliament member at the heart of a Qatar corruption scandal delayed a scheduled court appearance Wednesday because of a strike at the prison where she is being held, two of her lawyers confirmed to POLITICO.
Without Kaili present, her case was not discussed at the Palais de Justice — a scaffolding-clad Brussels skyline fixture under renovation for more than 40 years. She now has a new hearing now scheduled for December 22, the lawyers added.
“At the last minute, we were told that she could be transferred to the court, but that wasn’t good enough for us and we received a postponement,” Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, Kaili’s lawyer in Greece, told POLITICO.
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The three other suspects did have their cases discussed, but they weren’t seen entering or exiting the courthouse.
The sprawling investigation has revealed explosive allegations of corruption, money laundering and criminal operations, all linked to possible Qatari and Moroccan schemes to illegally influence the Parliament.
The possibility of eyeing Kaili and her fellow suspects in public for the first time since their arrests lured dozens of journalists to the courthouse on Wednesday morning.
With the hearings private, the weather freezing and the Palais de Justice sprawling, reporters weren’t sure where to wait. For hours, they milled about the crumbling (and unheated) building. They roamed through basements and hallways, looking for the best spot to catch a glimpse of the suspects — or an attorney.
Ultimately, however, the vigil was all for naught.
Once the lawyers, Pierre Monville and Barbara Huylebroek, did finally emerge, they were tight-lipped. The duo simply hurried out and down the hallway, saying they didn’t have any comments at this stage.
Monville is representing Francesco Giorgi, Kaili’s partner, who was also caught up in the probe, while Huylebroek is representing Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, a figure linked to the NGOs implicated in the matter.
The suspects have denied any wrongdoing.
“Kaili had nothing to do with the money,” Dimitrakopoulos said. “What MEPs say — that she pressed them to change their vote on Qatar — is a lie. They should have gone out in real-time and denounced it.”
The original article: POLITICO .belongs to