Brussels, Belgium – Verdict of the Court of Appeal
On Thursday, November 12th, the judge of the Appeals Court in Brussels made its decision public concerning the case against anarchists accused of criminal association and various crimes;
2 persons got 10 months of probation (during 5 years)
1 person got 8 months of probation (during 5 years)
1 person got 6 months of probation (during 3 years)
5 persons got a suspension of sentencing (during 3 years)
1 person got acquitted
(2 persons got acquitted in first instance and were not part of the appeal)
People also got sentenced to paying fines and a part of the investigative and juridical costs, but the state will have to pay the bill for the phone taps (by far the biggest amount).
(A suspension of sentencing means the judge finds you guilty and doesn’t set a sentence, but leaves this up to the next judge if you get caught in a certain period of time for a similar crime – not very different from probation).
From 2008, the Belgian State started a large investigation aiming at different struggles – but always without concessions – against deportation centers, borders, prisons and the world of authority and exploitation. This investigation is led by the Brussels’ anti-terrorist branch of the police backed by the State Security and the intelligence agency of the army as well as various anti-terrorist branches of other European countries. The investigation is closed in 2014, culminating in the referral of 12 anarchists to the courts under the accusation of “terrorist organization” and more specific charges such as participation in a non-authorized demonstration outside the detention center 127bis in Steenokkerzeel (transformed into “attempted arson” by the prosecutor), participation in a fight with two limousine drivers and damaging their vehicles (with the aggravating circumstance of “being motivated by hate”), having insulted European Union civil servants (with the aggravating circumstance of “being motivated by hate”), assault and wounding of police officers on several occasions, obstruction of the public road, damage in various forms, etc.
In 2017 the Advisory Court disqualifies the accusation of participation in a terrorist group (changes it into “criminal association”) and drops a number of accusations for which it feels there are not sufficient grounds to charge. In 2019 the Criminal Court rules the inadmissibility of the prosecuting against 9 accused since “the means of investigation implemented exceeded the framework of the strictly necessary and authorized” and “have brought a serious and irreparable harm” to “a fair trial”. Regarding the attack on the police station of the Marolles in 2010 (which was originally a separate investigation); 2 persons are acquitted and one found guilty of having resisted his arrest without being sentenced because the reasonable length of time has been exceeded. The prosecutor goes into appeal against 10 accused (not including the 2 acquitted).
On October 8th, 9th and 16th 2020, the case takes place before the Appeal Court. Only one accused is present and refuses to answer the questions of the judge. The prosecutor recommends sentences ranging from 3 to 6 years effective prison.
In the meantime, another investigation – also conducted by the same anti-terrorist police between 2013 and 2015 – is moving forward in the courts. 7 comrades are accused of “possession of prohibited weapons (pepperspray and slingshot)” and 6 comrades are accused of “incitement to commit crimes (arson) and misdemeanors (property damage)”. At the moment there is no date set for the Criminal Court in Brussels.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 13th, 2020 at 10:06 am and is filed under Social Control.