More than 500 Dutch people in Belgian prisons due to stricter punishments in Belgium

More than 500 Dutch citizens are in Belgian prisons, De Standaard reported on Thursday. This is a significant increase compared to 2022 when there were 363 Dutch people in jail in Belgium.

The number of Dutch citizens in Belgian prisons has practically doubled since 2018. This sharp upsurge is partly due to the cracking of Sky ECC, the encrypted messaging service often used by drug criminals.

In addition, the number of Dutch citizens being transferred back to their home country to serve their sentences is low. This year, the provisional figure is 13 compared to last year's 19 due to the fact that there are Belgian victims in many of the crimes and also because the penal policy towards drug offenders is much more lenient in the Netherlands.

"It is not so obvious to bring people here," says the Minister of Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne's cabinet. "The Netherlands, Belgium and the prisoner have to agree. It is not desirable for our country if the criminals get a lighter sentence in the Netherlands because we want to deter them by severely punishing them here."

In Belgium, for example, those who smuggle cocaine in the port of Antwerp risk a prison sentence of three to five years. In the Netherlands last year, outliers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to five months.


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An increasing number of Dutch nationals in Belgian prisons
In four years time, the number of Dutch nationals in Belgian prisons has increased by more than a quarter. There are currently 363 in Belgian...


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