Theo Francken has to explain controversial remarks about deporting criminals, demands Groen
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    Theo Francken has to explain controversial remarks about deporting criminals, demands Groen

    According to a member of the Groen party, Francken has admitted indirectly to committing reprehensible acts. Credit: Belga

    Parliamentarian Wouter De Vriendt of the Groen party wants to invite his colleague from the centre rightwing N-VA, Theo Francken, to a hearing in Parliament, unless the former Secretary of State explains controversial statements he made last week.

    At a gathering in Beveren, the Flemish nationalist had said, inter alia, that he had sometimes been “creative” in order to send illegal criminals back to their home countries.

    “I won’t tell you how, otherwise I would get into trouble, but one day I’ll write a book about it, once the statute of limitations has elapsed,” Francken said, not knowing that a journalist from De Morgen newspaper was present in the room.

    Such statements “are enough to make you fall off your chair,” said De Vriendt, who queried current Minister for Asylum and Migration, Maggie De Block (Open Vld) on the issue at a Chamber commission meeting on Wednesday. According to the Flemish ecologist, Francken had admitted indirectly to committing reprehensible acts since he had spoken of the statute of limitations. “Any Democrat should be alarmed following such statements,” De Vriendt said.

    In response, De Block explained that she had questioned the director of the Immigration Office, Freddy Roosemont, on the issue, and that he had assured her that his services had committed no illegal act while expelling illegal criminals.

    This did not satisfy De Vriendt, who called for more clarity, failing which, he said, his group was ready to summon Francken to a hearing in parliament as was done months ago with regard to the issue of trafficking in humanitarian visas.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times