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    Melikan Kucam’s hearing postponed

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Melikan Kucam’s appearance before the Antwerp Chamber of Indictment has been postponed to Monday 19 February. The 44-year-old New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) member of the Mechelen municipal council has been on remand for four weeks now, charged with human trafficking, criminal organisation, fraud and passive corruption. He is suspected of facilitating the issuing of humanitarian visas in exchange for considerable sums of money.

    Kucam was among private citizens who, in consultation with the Office of then Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken (N-VA) drew up lists of persons potentially eligible for humanitarian visas, mainly members of the Assyrian Christian community. He reportedly received between 2,000 and 10,000 euros to place names of the list. However, Kucam denies this.

    He appealed against the confirmation of the warrant for his arrest by the Council Chamber, and it is now up to the Chamber of Indictment to determine whether he should remain on remand or not.

    Kucam’s lawyers requested a new postponement on Tuesday. “Documents from Turkey still need to be translated,” his attorneys, Frank Coel and Walter Damen, explained. “We’ve also asked for a confrontation to be organised between Mr. Kucam and the people who have made statements against him, and that has been accepted.”

    In the meantime, their client remains in prison.

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times