Antwerp youths face 2 months prison time for lockdown parties
Monday, 11 January 2021
A dozen young people have been sentenced to up to two months of prison time by the police tribunal of Antwerp for their involvement in lockdown parties.
The prison sentences – which come with fines of up to €1,200 – were issued in a trial of 23 people involved in four lockdown parties. The other defendants received fines between €400 and €1,000, on top of court costs of around €300.
The hefty penalties are a result of a more severe crackdown by the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office. Since the second lockdown, people caught at lockdown parties can get summoned to the police tribunal immediately, opening up the possibility for more severe penalties.
“The defendants show deep contempt for those who do comply with the measures,” the police judge said on Monday according to Het Nieuwsblad. “When those people see how some flatly ignore the measures, it becomes all the more difficult for them to persevere.”
“After all, there are so many people who miss their normal social contacts with family and friends,” the judge continued. “That is why such antisocial, selfish and threatening behaviour must be severely punished.”
At a federal level, Belgium tripled its fines for lockdown parties in mid-December, increasing the penalty to €750 for attendees and €4,000 for organisers.
Lockdown parties have been organised throughout Belgium, including a cross-border party in the province of Luxembourg and a 42-person maskless family party near Antwerp as recently as last weekend.