255,000 call for greater street safety
2 May 2006, BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will be given a petition signed by 255,000 people on Tuesday demanding greater public safety in the aftermath of the murder of teenager Joe Van Holsbeeck.
2 May 2006
BRUSSELS — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will be given a petition signed by 255,000 people on Tuesday demanding greater public safety in the aftermath of the murder of teenager Joe Van Holsbeeck.
Immediately after the 12 April stabbing murder, Van Holsbeeck's friends launched a petition requesting the federal government take the necessary measures to boost safety on city streets.
The petition requests more and improved security cameras in public places, more security officers in train and metro stations and more and better educated youth workers.
The list of 255,000 people who signed the petition will be presented to Prime Minister Verhofstadt, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael later on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Polish community in Belgium expressed its horror at the murder of Van Holsbeeck during a special mass on Sunday in Brussels. The two arrested suspects are Polish.
Van Holsbeeck's father said after the service: "I am a little ashamed. They don't have to apologise. Those two young men are guilty, not the Polish people. And I would have said the same if the culprits were of North African ancestry".
Belgium is now awaiting the extradition of A.G., the youth suspected of actually carrying out the stabbing. He was arrested in Poland on 27 April and a Warsaw judge has ruled his extradition could be delayed until 31 May.
The Polish judge first wants to know whether Belgium will try G. as an adult or as a juvenile.
His brother, D.G., 24, has since been released from custody by Belgian police. His release comes after a video expert decided that D.G was not the one filmed by security cameras stabbing Van Holsbeeck.
Doubt had earlier been raised about who the actual culprit was, but authorities are now prepared to press ahead and prosecute the 17-year-old A.G. for the murder at Brussels Central station. A co-accused 16-year-old Polish will also be put on trial.
The parents of the main suspect A.G. have since said their son went off the rails due to drugs and his friends.
The parents, who live in Legonowo, a suburb of Warsaw, said they are familiar with Brussels because they often work illegally there. A.G. also stayed in Brussels often and renovated houses with his father.
When the family learned that a European arrest warrant had been issued for A.G., they allegedly sought assistance from the eldest brother, who lives in England. But A.G. was eventually arrested on the Polish-Lithuanian border last week.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news