Brussels: Police abuse leads to riots in prison, suburbs

Brussels: Police abuse leads to riots in prison, suburbs

Riots started on Tuesday in the Andenne prison. The inmates refused to return to their cells and started destroying equipment. According to Eric Delchevalerie of the Andenne prison, there was 6,000 euros in damages caused. The riots started in protest against police abuse in other prisons, and because of insults against Islam.

The abuse was reported in the Vorst prison. The police administration of Brussels-South condemned the 'acts of violence and xenophobia' in the prison, and intend to do everything in their power to identity the police agents involved. The abuse is supposed to have happened in September and October, when the police agents were replacing the wardens, who were on strike.

On September 22nd about 40 police agents terrorized the prison and threatened the administration and the prison workers and prevented them from intervening. According to various witnesses, the police agents had it in for an inmate who wanted to make a phone-call and refused to go back to his cell. He was beaten up in his cell, and was hit on his head with a rubber truncheon. He was brought to a hospital in critical condition.

On October 30th, inmates were forced to strip and hunch down. The police agents then beat them up on their back and testicles. They were forced to repeat "The prophet Mohammad is a pedophile" and "my mother is a whore". One inmate had his ear torn off, and a third was hit in his face with a bottle.

A former police agent sitting in jail for sex offenses was called a 'pedophile' by his masked colleagues, and threatened with being handed over to the other inmates. He tried to commit suicide, and was only found by the wardens when they came back to work the next morning.

The police is still investigating the police abuse charges. Two administrative chief-inspectors were suspended.

Friday night riots broke out in the Brussels suburbs of Anderlecht and Vorst by immigrant youth. A police station next to the municipality was completely destroyed by a Molotov cocktail [According to some reports, the municipality building was attacked]. Two police agents were lightly wounded. Close to 60 people were picked up.

The police were prepared for the riots, as there had been SMS with 'hate messages' circulating between the youth at school.

Sources: 7s7, RTBF (French), HLN 1, 2, 3, 4; Standaard (Dutch)

See also: Turkey: Fears of European Islamophobia

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