Fatal Charleroi arrest: court examines investigation of Chovanec case

Fatal Charleroi arrest: court examines investigation of Chovanec case
Still from CCTV footage originally obtained by Het Laatste Nieuws

The case of Jozef Chovanec, a Slovak national who died at Charleroi Airport following a heavy-handed arrest, is now in the hands of the indictment division of the Mons Court of Appeals, after the civil parties requested a control of the investigation.

Chovanec was rushed to hospital in February 2018 after he had been heavily subdued by a group of police officers who held him down and sat on him in a police cell at the airport. He died later in hospital.

An investigation is now being carried out in order to check whether justice has worked properly in this case. The civil party also considers that investigative duties were not carried out.

"The case is against X, we want names instead of X," commented Ann Vandesteen, lawyer for the victim's family, at the end of the hearing which was held behind closed doors.

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The affair became public on 19 August after images of the arrest were released in the press and the case was the subject of a parliamentary committee where ministers and police chiefs were called upon to explain the facts.

While Chovanec's death was investigated, the investigating judge did not charge anyone. For the victim's family, faults were committed from the airport tarmac to the cell because the man's psychological problems and his medication were known to everyone.

The Indictments Chamber will render its decision on 12 October.

The Brussels Times

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