Staff freed after hostage-taking by psychiatric hospital internees
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Staff freed after hostage-taking by psychiatric hospital internees

© BELGA/NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

A psychiatric institution in Antwerp was hit by commotion on Tuesday evening after internees held staff members hostage overnight, in the second hostage-taking incident in the centre in months.

Internees at the Forensic Psychiatric Centre (FPC) on Antwerp’s left bank took two workers of the centre hostage and held them against their will well into the early hours of Wednesday.

Antwerp prosecutors said that the hostage-taking began at around 10:00 PM on Tuesday and that the patients locked up two members of staff inside a room with sealed-in windows until around 2:00 AM.

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The centre alerted authorities and the hostage’s release was obtained after lengthy negotiations led by special magistrate sent by prosecutors as well as a specialised unit of the federal police, 7sur7 reports.

Both victims were freed from their ordeal unharmed, the two perpetrators were detained and prosecutors are issuing an arrest warrant them.

Tuesday’s incident marks the second time in less than six months that a hostage-taking takes place at the same centre, which is a psychiatric detention facility which takes in mentally unstable people who have committed a criminal offence but are unfit for jail or trial.

In June, three internees of the centre took two nurses hostage for hours, in an incident which also lasted through the night and which required federal police negotiators for the victims to be freed.

The Brussels Times