Tuesday, 30 April 2019
The judiciary police visited the offices of the Socialist Party (PS) group in the Brussels Parliament on Monday afternoon following a complaint lodged by socialist parliamentarian Emin Ozkara that his office had been burgled. This information was confirmed by the PS group, which linked it to accusations by the Transparencia organisation, unhappy with one of the many provisions of a Brussels Government bill related to administrative transparency, on which a vote was scheduled for Tuesday.
The provision in question requires anyone requesting access to an administrative document to provide a copy of his or her identity card if the request is not made through a lawyer. Over the past weekend, Transparencia, claimed that its aim was “to prevent it from functioning” as a platform for gaining access to administrative documents.
The platform added that, as a co-author with two other outgoing Socialist parliamentarians (both of whom were excluded from the PS electoral list – Editor’s Note) of a proposed amendment to withdraw the ID-card provision), Ozkara had been the target of intimidation from within his party and his office had been burgled.
The PS group in Parliament described the accusations concerning a “so-called break-in” at the office of a PS parliamentarian as “far-fetched” and “unacceptable harassment”.
In a press release the group confirmed that Ozkara had prepared an amendment to the Brussels’ Government transparency decree.
The ID-card requirement was designed to avoid abuses such as electronic requests from robots or identity fraud, advocates say. The Socialist group feels the accusations levelled against it are “either a pure invention or slander” and called on Transparencia to “stop its harassment practices immediately”.
“Political staff, employees and services of Parliament have often been the victims of pressure and intimidation that make it impossible to have a calm democratic debate,” the PS stated in its press release. “Today again, a female parliamentarian and a female staff member were insulted and pushed around in the very offices of their parliamentary group under the eyes of the police.”
A staff member said on Monday evening that her arm had been held by a Transparencia representative who was present when the police went to the PS offices in Parliament.
“It’s not the first time that certain members of this structure have acted aggressively and even violently towards anyone who does not give in to their pressure,” the Socialists stressed in their press release. “The PS refuses to allow dialogue to be replaced by pressure and harassment.”
The Brussels Times