Minister rejects reform of security service
14 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Despite a storm of criticism following the disappearance of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal, the security service VS-SE will not come under the guidance of the Interior Ministry.
14 March 2006
BRUSSELS — Despite a storm of criticism following the disappearance of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal, the security service VS-SE will not come under the guidance of the Interior Ministry.
Instead, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx resolutely said the federal intelligence service will remain under the wing of the Justice Ministry.
Heated discussions about the future of the VS-SE were seen in the Parliament's justice commission on Tuesday morning.
Federal coalition government party Socialist SP.A is demanding a wholesale revamp of the security service after Erdal's embarrassing escape.
Party chairman Johan Vande Lanotte is demanding that VS-SE become part of the Interior Ministry as one of its security services.
But Minister Laurette said she is "absolutely" opposed to the proposal, stressing that the VS-SE must remain part of the Justice Ministry.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt raised the prospect of reforming the security service last week.
However, for that to proceed, the investigation by the police and intelligence service supervisory bodies, Committee P and Committee I, must indicate that the VS-SE made serious mistakes around the escape.
Verhofstadt therefore wants to wait for the completion of the investigation before making any decisions. The results of inquiries are expected in the next few weeks.
Erdal escaped at the end of February while under surveillance by the VS-SE on the eve of her conviction of links to the Turkish militant group DHKP-C. She was sentenced in absentia by Brugge Court to four years jail.
However, Erdal's lawyer indicated on Tuesday that he will appeal the ruling on her behalf. Most of her co-convicted DHKP-C members will also appeal.
Lawyer Paul Bekaert said he has not been in contact with Erdal since she disappeared, but said he had earlier been instructed to press for her acquittal, which meant appealing any possible conviction.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news