The Antwerp Chamber confirmed on Tuesday that an arrest warrant was issued for New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) councillor for Mechelen Melikan Kucam (44), the politician’s attorney, Frank Coel, indicated. His client is suspected of receiving large sums of money to enable inhabitants of conflict zones in Syria to obtain humanitarian visas.
Kucam was taken into custody last Tuesday and placed under a warrant two days later for human trafficking, criminal organisation, passive corruption and extortion. Through intermediaries, he reportedly received considerable sums of money in exchange for the obtention of the humanitarian visas. However, he denies being paid for the visas.
The justice department in Antwerp has been investigating irregularities in the issuance of humanitarian visas since November. According to the investigation, Kucam, who plays an important role in the Assyrian community, reportedly received between 2,000 and 10,000 euros to get people out of Syria and Irak and bring them to Belgium. These are considerable sums when compared to the 350 euros that a humanitarian visa costs.
Precise details on the circumstances surrounding the facts imputed to Kucam are still unknown.
On Tuesday Coel had pleaded for Kucam’s liberation at the Antwerp Council Chamber. He plans to study the possibility of making an appeal.