Suspects can be obliged to give up access code to phone, court rules
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    Suspects can be obliged to give up access code to phone, court rules

    The obligation cannot be seen as a restriction on the right not to incriminate oneself. Credit: Piqsels

    An investigating judge is allowed to oblige a suspect to give up the access code of their mobile phone, the Belgian Court of Cassation ruled.

    The obligation cannot be seen as a restriction on the right not to incriminate oneself, according to the court. If someone refuses, they can be given a penalty.

    Provided the person knows the access code, they can be punished for refusing to cooperate, according to the court. That way, the measure does not violate the right not to incriminate oneself, or the presumption of innocence.

    Additionally, the right not to incriminate oneself should be interpreted as excluding false statements made under duress, according to the Court, reports VRT. When someone gives the access code of their mobile phone, it cannot lead to statements being made under duress, which later turn out to be incorrect.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times