Police attack: Deradicalisation centre wanted 'full psychological follow-up' of suspect

Police attack: Deradicalisation centre wanted 'full psychological follow-up' of suspect
Credit: Belga/Hatim Kaghat

The deradicalisation centre for the support and care of anyone affected by violent extremism and radicalism (Caprev), which followed up on the suspect of the knife attack – Yassine M. – that killed one police officer and gravely injured another last Thursday, wanted to close his file and hand him over to psychiatric care.

Between 2013 and 2019, M. was in prison after several thefts and robberies involving violence, and was also placed on the OCAD (the organisation responsible for threat analysis in Belgium) list as a "potentially violent extremist," which is why he was transferred to the prison's deradicalisation ("deradex") wing, VRT reports.

After serving his sentence, he was further monitored by various deradicalisation services of the City of Brussels and the French community. Five months before his release from prison in July 2019, M. had been referred to the Caprev.

The suspect was monitored, "first focusing on social and then psychological and psycho-social help," Le Soir reports. The Bravvo association (the prevention service of the City of Brussels) also monitored him as he was known for his proselytism (attempts to convert fellow convicts' religious beliefs) in prison.

'Difficult flow of information'

While the Caprev centre stated that radicalisation was no longer acute, it did recommend "intensive, ongoing and long-term psychiatric follow-up." An institution was even designated, the Centre Chapelle-aux-Champs in the Brussels municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.

In practice, this means Caprev believed it had given all the aid it could, but still felt that M. should receive "full psychological and psychiatric follow-up." On 8 November, two days before the attack on the police officers in Schaerbeek on Thursday, this reorientation was "discussed with him again," Le Soir reports.

In the Chamber Committee on Justice and Home Affairs on Monday, questions were asked about the "difficult flow of information" through the deradicalisation centre of the French Community.

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"State security, the federal police, or the OCAD centre do not receive systematic information from the French-speaking deradicalisation centre," Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne stated. "The centre considers professional secrecy more important and fears that it will be instrumentalised by the security centres."

For example, Caprev does not participate in the Local Integral Security Cells, which are the cornerstone of Belgium's counter-terror strategy, according to the OCAD. According to competent French-speaking minister Valérie Glatigny, however, the centre was hardly invited.


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