12 August 2004
BRUSSELS – An investigation is under way after it emerged an inmate at Saint-Hubert prison was allowed to drive into town in a car on his own.
La Dernière Heure revealed on Tuesday that the 58-year-old fraudster, named as Georges H, had about 50 days left to serve of a two-year sentence. The prison administration granted him a holiday.
When he returned, he parked his car in a prison car park, following instructions from one of Saint-Hubert’s directors.
But the following day he was called into another prisoner director’s office and asked: “Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to use that car park?”
The prisoner tried to explain that he had been given permission to park his Suzuki Swift there, but the director sent him off to the warden’s office to get the car keys and sent him out in his prison uniform to park his car in the town.
A warden followed behind him in a van.
The prisoner returned, but the incident has embarrassed Saint-Hubert’s authorities just a year after one of its directors left in disgrace. The director had been abusing prison labour for his personal needs – sending prisoners to prune his rosebushes and mow his lawn and having dishes delivered to his home from the prison kitchen.
Questions are already being asked this week about security in Belgium’s prisons after violent criminal Nordine Ben Allal was allowed to escape on Sunday for the third time.
Belgium’s “public enemy number one”, who was serving a 27-year sentence at Nivelles prison, had still not been recaptured as Expatica was published.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news