2016 Brussels attacks trial: Accused may no longer be subjected to daily nude frisks

A Brussels court has ordered an immediate stop to the daily nude frisks that the accused at the trial on the March 2016 terror attacks had to undergo until now, public broadcaster VRT reports. The news was confirmed by the press magistrate of the French-speaking court of first instance in Brussels.

Six accused in the terrorism trial had sued Belgium's federal justice minister in summary proceedings over the conditions in which they are transferred from prison to the court building in Haren every day. The six complained that they had to undergo daily nude frisking, during which they had to bend their knees, and had to wear blindfolds during their transfer. During the first few days of the trial, loud music was also played in the transport vehicles, but this stopped after the lawyers of the six served notice on the minister.

According to the Belgian state's defence, the nude frisks and blindfolds were necessary to ensure safety, but the Brussels court sees things differently. According to the judge in summary proceedings, the daily nude frisks constitute degrading treatment and thus violate the European Convention on Human Rights. Moreover, according to the judge, they do not seem justified in light of all the other security measures surrounding the trial, and the government does not demonstrate how the accused pose a threat.

The blindfolds, on the other hand, do not constitute degrading treatment and are necessary for security, the judge added.

The Belgian state can still appeal the order, but it is enforceable in the meantime. The state has eight days to execute the order; otherwise, a penalty of 1.000 euros per violation awaits.




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