Behind the Scenes of Qatargate: Belgium’s Controversial Moves and Unsettled Investigation

BELGIUM seems skeptical about what to do with the individuals accused of polluting the European Parliament with corruption in the Qatargate scandal. The complexities have still increased with the new leaks over time. It has been one year since the inception of the scandal, but Belgian authorities have yet to take any significant step. 

In January, the arrest warrants of Qatari Labor Minister Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri were issued by Belgian authorities at the direction of leading investigator Judge Michel Claise. According to the Belgian prosecution, the warrants include Labour Minister aide Bettahar Boudjellal and Morocco’s ambassador to Poland, Abderrahim Atmoun. 

Later, Michel Claise withdrew the arrest warrants within months. After that, another notification for the arrest was issued for the two persons of the Qatari government. But now, only one of them shall be lifted again. Michel Claise temporarily withdrew national and international notifications for the arrest of Al Marri. Further to the recent leaks, it was also revealed that the suspect in the Investigation, Eva Kaili, was targeted by Belgian authorities despite the absence of proof against her. Even her name was not on the list of cases.

These developments need to be clarified and show the skepticism of Belgian authorities. Experts say abrupt issuing and withdrawal notifications for arrest is not standard practice. It makes suspicions of Belgian authorities and raises concerns about the Belgian judiciary.

The question is, Why do the Belgian authorities keep changing their minds? Moreover, according to sources, Al Marri’s warrant had been lifted in exchange for Qatar’s help. Qatar has mediated the release of Olivier Vandecasteele, a Belgian humanitarian worker who has been jailed in Iran for more than a year.  It raises serious questions about the judiciary’s neutrality and its likely ties to Qatar. Furthermore, this raises questions about the Belgian government’s readiness to mediate the release of its citizens in exchange for political favors.

If the Belgian authorities were to withdraw the arrest warrant, then why did they start the investigation? It makes the whole investigation questionable. The illegal imprisonment and investigation of Eva Kaili also raise concern for the credibility of Belgian authorities. Evidently, this was not Qatargate; it was a Belgium gate. Belgium developed this case to achieve its interest. 

It’s high time for the European Parliament to act; parliament must protect European politics from these types of Scandals.

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