Belgian paedophile to stay locked up after prison term

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The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Belgium can keep a repeat sex attacker locked up after the end of a prison term as he still represents a danger to society.

Georges de Schepper, jailed on eight occasions since 1970 for offences including rape and assaulting minors, is still in prison three years after his sentence finished in October 2006.

In his complaint to the Strasbourg court, he said his rights to liberty and security had been breached by the decision of the Belgian justice minister to keep him locked up in "preventive detention."

The convicted paedophile, who is in his 60s, claimed his continued detention was only necessary due to the authorities' failure to provide him with specialist treatment.

But a panel of seven judges decided that Belgium could keep De Schepper locked up in Bruges prison, in the north of the country.

"The court held unanimously that the applicant's detention after October 2006 had been justified and that there had therefore been no violation" of his human rights, the judges said.

They said keeping him in prison was in line with a Belgian court ruling in 2001, which said De Schepper could remain behind bars for up to 10 years after his sentence if he was still deemed a danger to society.

The judges also found authorities had fulfilled their obligation to try and provide De Schepper with treatment, but these efforts failed due to "the evolution in the applicant's condition."


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