Nine identified for racist Facebook comments about migrants boat capsize
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    Nine identified for racist Facebook comments about migrants boat capsize

    Credit: Belga

    The Belgian federal police have been able to identify nine people who posted racist comments on Facebook following the capsize of a boat carrying 14 migrants off the Belgian coast in January.

    On 21 January 2020, 14 migrants tried to cross the English Channel to the United Kingdom from the Belgian beach of De Panne. However, after only a few hundred metres, their boats capsized.

    A large rescue operation was immediately launched, with four lifeboats, police officers and fire crews scouring the waters for the missing persons, resulting in all the boat’s occupants reaching the coast safely.

    However, the rescue operation provoked a lot of reactions on social media, as many people reacted to the news with racist comments, some even wishing the migrants had died.

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    At the request of the Ypres Public Prosecutor’s Office, a specialised cell of the federal police opened an investigation into the racist comments.

    “We contacted the federal police and its internet section, and asked it to launch an investigation into violations of the anti-racism law,” Johan Lescrauwaet of the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Ypres said back in January. “This is an important sign to show that that will not be tolerated,” he added.

    Nine people, those who used the most hateful language, have now been identified. They have been heard, and the public prosecutor’s office will decide if they have to appear in court, they confirmed to Het Laatste Nieuws.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times