The Federal Police have launched an investigation, at the request of the Flanders Public Prosecutor’s Office, into racist comments that appeared on social media after a boat carrying migrants capsized off De Panne.
Search and rescue operations were also launched off the coast of De Panne to find the boat’s occupants.
The racist statements and messages appeared on social media soon after the disaster. “We then contacted the federal police and its Internet section and asked it to launch an investigation into violations of the anti-racism law,” Johan Lescrauwaet of the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Ypres said. “This is an important sign to show that that will not be tolerated.”
The specialised federal service will check whether some people incited hate in their messages. If this is confirmed, the police will issue tickets to them. “If we decide to take legal action against these persons, they risk a prison term of one month to a year, and a fine of up to €8,000,” Lescrauwaet warned.