Nine escapees re-arrested after jail breakout

20th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2006 (first update 21 August)

20 August 2006 (first update 21 August)

BRUSSELS — Nine of the 28 prisoners who escaped from the Dendermonde prison in East Flanders over the weekend have been re-arrested.

The jail break occurred at about 2am on Saturday after two inmates broke open their cell door and overpowered three guards, public prosecution spokesman Christian Du Four said.

The prisoners then used the guards' keys to free 26 other inmates.

No one has been reported injured. The keys allowed the prisoners to access the internal courtyard of the prison, where they climbed over the wall and escaped.

It is still unclear how the prisoners obtained the equipment used to force open their cell door.

Police launched a massive man hunt, including the use of a helicopter.

The Dendermonde corps and officers from surrounding municipalities are co-operating in the operation. Railway police are also involved in the man hunt.
Only men are detained in the Dendermonde prison.

Christian Democrat CD&V justice spokesman and MP Tony Van Parys blamed the jail break on what he said was a badly aged prison.

"The then justice minister Marc Verwilghen announced the construction of a new prison in Dendermonde five to six years ago," Van Parys said.

"But the project has instead been repeatedly postponed and in the meantime, people have failed to inject the necessary investment to ensure the prison meets modern demands in terms of safety."

Van Parys said the penitentiary system investment plan envisions the purchase of new ground for the Dendermonde prison in 2008-09, but urged for accelerated work on a new jail.

He also urged for an assessment of the Belgian prison system, stressing that “recent incidents have made clear that a global renovation plan is necessary”.

There have been several jail breaks in recent times.

The opposition MP accused the coalition government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of repeatedly refusing to open new prisons.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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