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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2009-11-11 09:28:31
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Jail hostage-taker killed

One prisoner has been shot dead and five people have been injured after a hostage-taking incident at a Belgian jail, officials say. A number of prisoners were taken hostage by two fellow inmates armed with makeshift knives in the Leuven Centraal prison. One of the hostage-takers was killed after police Special Forces entered the prison, the justice ministry said.

A female prison officer suffered twelve stab wounds, Belgian media report. Prison officers, who say the ringleaders of the incident were too dangerous to be at Leuven Centraal jail, are now on strike, and local police are acting as prison guards, the Belgian daily newspaper De Standaard reports.

Overcrowding probably contributed to the incident, Belgium's Minister of Justice Stefaan De Clerck is quoted as saying. The prison was currently holding 10,400 prisoners, 2,000 more than it was built for, he added.


Belgium to rent Dutch jail cells

Tight on space in its jails, Belgium will start renting 500 cells at Tilburg prison in neighbouring Netherlands. The agreement will make up for the shortage of cells across Belgium and send roughly 500 prisoners away for three years. Belgium will pay 30m Euros (£26.8m) a year for sending its detainees across the border.

No prisoners who are "an escape risk or a risk to society" will be sent to Tilburg, Dutch officials said.  "The Netherlands is putting the prison and its personnel at Belgium's disposal for placing at least 500 detainees over a period of three years," the Dutch justice ministry said. The prisoners will be guarded by Dutch wardens, but the prison director will be Belgian. There are still a number of issues that need to be resolved, including how often detainees may be seen by family and friends.

In Belgium, prisoners may receive visitors three times a week, while those in the Netherlands may only receive guests once a week. Belgium's prisons currently hold 10,400 people - nearly 2,000 more than capacity. The Netherlands on the other hand has nearly 2,000 empty prison cells, thanks to a significant drop in crime since the beginning of this century. The deal was signed by Belgium's Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck and his Dutch counterpart Nebahat Albayrak. The agreement still needs to pass both countries' parliaments.


Belgium Open Poker Championships Coming

The sixth €1,500 + €200 buy-in Belgium Open Poker Championships will be held in Casino de Namur in Belgium from Nov. 21 to 29. The main event will play out over nine days (including four starting days, and two day 2’s), and will be streamed live on the Internet and filmed for broadcast. Time is now of the essence and the cheapest road to a seat in the Championships appears to be by qualifying online. There are satellites beginning at $5 + $0.50 at PokerStars, the sit ‘n’ go steps at EverestPoker begin at $2, and bin are even holding a free roll for players from Belgium.


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