Six arrests in Antwerp
27 June 2006 (first update), BRUSSELS — All six suspects in the bashing death of a 54-year-old man on an Antwerp bus on Saturday night have been arrested, the city's prosecution office said on Tuesday.
27 June 2006 (first update)
BRUSSELS — All six suspects in the bashing death of a 54-year-old man on an Antwerp bus on Saturday night have been arrested, the city's prosecution office said on Tuesday.
Five suspects were arrested on Monday night and it was confirmed on Tuesday morning the sixth suspect had also been detained.
The suspects have been identified as three youths aged 16 and three adults aged 18, 20 and 22.
Five suspects are Belgian citizens and one is a Spaniard. All suspects are of Moroccan ancestry, leading to renewed talk about ethnic crime.
All six suspects live in Antwerp, three of whom are known to justice authorities. The three minors will appear before a juvenile court judge later on Tuesday and the adults will appear before an investigating judge.
They are currently suspected of manslaughter.
Police were given various useful tips from witnesses on Monday afternoon. The couple that was seated at the back of the bus where the bashing occurred also came forward.
Special intervention police raided at about 8pm houses and apartments in the Veldstraat, the Pothoekstraat and the Nikkelstraat on Monday night.
The homes were located only a couple of hundred metres from the bus stop on the Pothoekstraat where the six suspects boarded the bus on Saturday night.
The raids and arrests followed the swift identification of the six suspects, who were identified due to photos from youth criminal authorities and statements from bus passengers.
Some 30 police officers were involved in the investigation, conducting a neighbourhood search and asking for video footage from businesses along the route of bus line 23.
The couple that sat at the back of the bus and witnessed the bashing also reported to police and was questioned on Monday.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt praised the swift actions of police and expressed hope the suspects would be given an appropriate sentence to serve as a preventative warning.
He also said the alleged actions of the Moroccan suspects were an exceptional pity because they brought discredit to an entire community.
Authorities are still waiting on the autopsy results. Only then can it be said with certainty that the bashing lead to Demoor's death. The autopsy report is due to be handed over to the investigating judge later on Tuesday.
Flemish green Groen! MP Mieke Vogels has urged again for the introduction of a tram or bus guard, who would not only check tickets but help ensure safety on public transport vehicles.
She pointed out that transport authority De Lijn scrapped its tram guards because they were too expensive. "Today, the absence of these guards is increasingly clear," Vogels said.
The 54-year-old Guido Demoor, a married father of two children, will be buried on Friday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news