Prosecutor investigates 'gruesome' acts of torture at Antwerp prison

An inmate at Antwerp prison has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after being tortured in his cell by fellow inmates, possibly for several days. An investigation has been launched by the Antwerp public prosecutor's office and Antwerp police.

Justice minister Paul Van Tigchelt confirmed on Wednesday that an investigation was under way into serious violence that took place at the Begijnenstraat prison. The prison system has also launched an internal investigation.

On Wednesday morning, it was reported that a 41-year-old inmate, who was on remand for attempted intra-family murder, had been tortured in his cell by five fellow inmates. According to Gazet van Antwerpen and VRT, the man suffered serious burns and is in a critical condition. He also appears to have been severely sexually assaulted. The assault was filmed and forwarded via Snapchat.

It is possible that the man had been tortured for days, Kristof Aerts of the Antwerp public prosecutor's office said. It is not yet clear why the assault was allowed to continue for so long without intervention. VRT NWS writes that, according to "reliable sources", the victim was told to pretend to be asleep when someone entered the cell.

'Serious and degrading acts'

"On Tuesday evening, the management of the detention centre in the Begijnenstraat in Antwerp was informed of horrible, disgusting acts. The emergency services were immediately called to the scene. The victim has been hospitalised and is in a critical condition," Van Tigchelt said in a statement on Wednesday."

"The management of the detention centre was informed of horrible, disgusting acts. The emergency services were immediately called"

The investigation should clarify who played what role in these "very serious and degrading acts", he added. The cell in question has been sealed and the suspects are being held at Antwerp police station.


Members of the ACOD union representing prison guards in Antwerp give a press conference, 13 March 2024 © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE

Related news

Website preview
Prisons across Flanders carry out week of strikes against increasing aggression
Unions dissatisfied with increased aggression against prison staff will start a week of strikes in Flemish prisons on Sunday evening.
Website preview
Prison staff refuse to accept new inmates as overcrowding continues
Prisons across Flanders are refusing to take any more inmates as the issue of overcrowding remains unresolved. On Saturday, Antwerp and Hasselt prisons announced they would not accept any more inmates, followed on Sunday by Bruges, Mechelen, Turnhout and Leuven.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels