Founder of NGO at centre of EU Qatar scandal is convicted terrorist
16th December 2022
An influential member of the non-governmental organisation at the heart of the Qatargate scandal in the European Parliament is a convicted terrorist.
Nicknamed Commandante Sirio, he also helped carry out a deadly bomb attack on a prison in a bid to free his then girlfriend, killing a prison officer and a passerby.
He was arrested in 1983 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his roles in the terror attacks.
In jail, Segio renounced violence, and became a writer and campaigner on prison conditions, human rights and drug addiction.
Now released, he is one of the top members of Fight Impunity, an influential human rights NGO, which has become embroiled in the corruption and bribery scandal that has rocked the European Union.
Segio is listed as an “executive director” on the organisation’s latest report on human rights, which he also edited and wrote the introduction for. According to Belgian news outlet HLN, he has described the EU’s refugee policy as more murderous than anything he himself had ever done.
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Fight Impunity’s current president is Pier Antonio Panzeri, 67, a former Italian centre-left MEP, who was arrested after €600,000 in bank notes was found in his house.
The cash was part of more than €1.5 million seized in police raids that was allegedly used to boost Qatar’s case in EU decisions on visa liberalisation and an aviation deal last year.
Mr Panzeri, his wife and daughter, are alleged to have taken money from a Moroccan diplomat for their part in the alleged bribery network. They have denied any wrongdoing.
He was chairman of the parliament’s delegation for relations with the Arab Maghreb Union, which includes Morocco.
His NGO received €175,000 in EU funding from the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee last year, according to Belgian newspaper Le Sour.
There have been calls for the European Parliament to introduce tighter rules to prevent NGOs from acting as fronts for criminal organisations.
Mr Panzeri was due to appear alongside Segio at a conference on peace processes in Venice recently, but pulled out of the event due to his arrest.