Brussels attacks trial: FPS Justice to appeal ban on strip searches

Brussels attacks trial: FPS Justice to appeal ban on strip searches
Credit: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga.

On Saturday, the FPS Justice announced that they would be appealing a recent ruling that banned the daily strip searches, which the defendants on trial for the Brussels terror attacks were forced to endure. This appeal is said to have been demanded by the Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

Since the start of Brussels terror attacks trial, which attempts to bring those having orchestrated the March 2016 bombings to justice, proceedings have been disrupted over defendants' complaints of mistreatment.

They alleged having been forced to endure daily strip searches during their transfert to court, for which they sued the Belgian State. As a result, a Brussels judge banned the practice in late December on the grounds that they violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

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In response, the FPS Justice announced on Saturday that they were planning on appealing the ruling, with Sharon Beavis, a spokesperson for the federal agency, explaining that the Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne had personally instructed them to do so.

Their argument is that police still consider it appropriate to impose strict security measures on defendants during the trial, especially as one of them reportedly threatened to smuggle a knife into court.

However, the defendants' lawyers have responded that these arguments are direct copies of the ones presented to the Brussels judge that sided with them and banned the daily strip searches.

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