Expatica news

Judiciary ‘regrets’ blaming North Africans

25 April 2006

BRUSSEL — Federal police and the Brussels public prosecution office regret that in the aftermath of the murder of teen Joe Van Holsbeeck an accusing finger was initially pointed at the North African community in Belgium.

However, the judicial director of the federal police, Glenn Audenaert, congratulated police on Tuesday for the results thus far from the investigation into the Brussels Central station murder.

“We think it is very regrettable that shortly after the murder the North African community was immediately accused, certainly now that it appears the culprits were not from that community,” Audenaert said.

“I must point out though that the federal police never said that the suspects were definitely North Africans”.

That terminology was used by the Brussels public prosecution office. But spokesman Jos Colpin said the suspects were publicly identified by the prosecution as North Africans based on the first witness statements.

“Nearly every statement talked about North Africans or culprits of North African origin,” Coplin said.

But both the prosecution and federal police spokesmen agreed that police services had performed commendable work.

Audenaert said railway police sat through more than 200 hours of security camera footage to find usable images of the suspects, local police from the six Brussels zones deployed extra officers and federal officers also performed well.

The judicial director also thanked school teaching staff in the Francophone education system for displaying responsibility and assisting police inquiries.

“It is partly thanks to them that we have found the culprits. We also thank everyone who gave us useful information. A lot of people know what civil responsibility is,” Audenaert said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news