Said E.M, a 38 year old man from Schaerbeek, has been in prison for seven years, even though a judge acquitted him, La Dernière Heure, De Morgen and Het Laaste Nieuws reported on Tuesday. The mistake was discovered by accident when a researcher looked into prisons in Belgium. Said E.M has been in prison in Brussels since the 27th of June 2008. He was suspected of stealing a mobile phone and other attempted thefts. The judge said Said could be acquitted through article 71, as he thought the thief was not responsible for his actions. However, he was put in Forest prison’s psychiatric wing. This is despite the judge acquitting him, not sending him to prison.
The mistake is due to “administrative errors” in the days following his trial. He was released in March, but once again sent to Forest prison’s psychiatric wing. Said’s lawyer is hoping to get him released in the next few days.