Photos taken during checks to identify Brussels rioters
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    Photos taken during checks to identify Brussels rioters

    Police checks have intensified in the centre of Brussels, since the riots on the Boulevard Lemonnier on November 11th. Some youngsters whose identity was checked had their photo taken by police officers. The Sudpresse publications were reporting on Friday that the police were hoping to identify the individuals responsible.

    Residents in the Anneeseens district testify as to having been checked, and are expressing their frustration.

    The spokeswoman for the Brussels-Capital/Ixelles police zone said, “It is possible that photos of youngsters have been taken as there were concerns as to their involvement in the riots.”

    She added, “This process has already enabled us to identify one individual.” The local police zone asserted that this procedure is not being carried out on a systematic basis. The spokeswoman for the police zone indicated, “The police presence in general has been stepped up in the city centre since the incidents.” She conceded that taking individual photos in identity checks is not normal practice.

    Mathieu Beys, the lawyer, observed from a legislative point of view, “This a grey area to which there is no clear response.” He is also the author of the work “What are our rights when confronted by the police?”.

    He commented, “The law as to police function enables the processing and collection of personal data including photos. He indicated, “There is an important principle as regards legal investigations which prohibits seeking information on a large group of individuals without any relevant evidence.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times