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    Sentencing law could send Farid Bamouhammad back to prison

    On Tuesday and using third-party proceedings, Koen Geens (CD&V), the Minister for Justice, challenged the November 30th decision by the Tribunal de Premiere Instance (Court of First Instance) in Liege, to release Farid Bamouhammad. It appears that a royal order in effect as of Monday makes it possible to send him back to prison. Farid Bamouhammad was released by court order on November 30th. His attorneys had unilaterally applied for release on medical grounds following his hunger strike. In spite of a judgement by the court of appeal noting he had suffered degrading treatment and a decision by the European court dictating that the Belgian state must offer him medical treatment, Belgium did not follow that order, which motivated Farid Bamouhammad’s attorneys to file their action.

    Minister Koen Geens initiated third-party proceedings against the Court of First Instance’s decision in order have Farid Bamouhammad taken back to prison. Via a lawyer, Minister Geens argued that the procedure was neither absolutely necessary nor extremely urgent. Invoking a royal order dated December 30th, 2014, published in the Moniteur (Belgian Official Journal) and in effect as of January 12th, 2015,  he claims that the president of the Court of First Instance no longer had jurisdiction in this case and that it is now a matter for the magistrate in charge of sentencing.

    The public prosecutor agrees. Farid Bamouhammad’s defence team argue that the royal order does not apply to on-going procedures. They think returning to prison would be detrimental to Farid Bamouhammd’s physical and mental health.

    The court has yet to come to a decision in this case. A court order is expected on Tuesday, January 20th at the latest.

    Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)