Belgium issued 60 extradition requests in 2019, with the largest number – 22 – addressed to Syria, according to Justice Department figures quoted on Monday by La Dernière Heure newspaper.
The requests included one made to Monaco for Christophe Henrotay, a football agent arrested for corruption and money laundering.
When Belgium requests the extradition of a suspect from a third country, Belgian rules apply. “The extradited person is accompanied by two Belgian police officers who go to the country in question and travel back with the person,” Justice Department Spokesperson Edward Landtsheere said.
“If the police services determine that the individual is very dangerous, the escort can comprise three or four persons,” he explained, adding, however, that “this measure is exceptional and has to be justified.”
On the other hand, Belgium received many more extradition requests than it issued last year. Of the 84 it received, 25 were from Turkey, 12 from Albania and nine from the United States.
In 2017, there were 92 such requests, and in 2018 there were 105.
However, Landtsheere stressed that an extradition request did not necessarily mean the extradition itself was done. “The conditions need to be met, and the extradition process takes time,” he explained.
Extradition is only possible if there is an international treaty, a convention between Belgium and the third country concerned. The State of Belgium has signed bilateral treaties with 40 countries.