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NEWS

Short Update: Belgium sends inmates home and facilitates police work

admin - April 10, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Prisoner releases, prison conditions, Extended police powers, Belgium

On 9 April 2020, the Belgian government adopted a Royal Decree aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and mitigating the impact of the health crisis on police and investigation work.

Thus, limitation periods applicable to prosecution and sentences have been suspended until 3 June 2020. Time extensions for certain investigation measures are implemented. Deadlines for victims and defendants to exercise their rights (such as lodging appeals), however, have not been postponed.

In order to reduce prison population, prison sentences may be suspended (subject to conditions) for the duration of the crisis. Prisoners may also benefit from early release as from six months before the end of their sentence. Conversely, previously authorised temporary absences for inmates have been suspended, as had already been with prison visits.

Finally, imprisoned defendants are no longer required to attend certain hearings and some proceedings will dispense with hearings altogether (in favour of written proceedings). 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected].

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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