Saïd E.M. was able to leave the Forest prison in Brussels having been wrongfully imprisoned for seven years, due to a procedural irregularity, La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Tuesday. Last week Belgium‘s final Court of Appeal ordered that the prisoner should be freed. It quashed the May 7th, 2015 ruling which had stated that Saïd should remain in prison. This decision followed the Public Prosecutor’s opposition to his being freed.
Saīd E.M. had been imprisoned in Brussels since June 27th, 2008. He was suspected of theft and attempted theft, attempted robbery and burglary. The judge had considered that he could be acquitted on the basis of article 71, holding that the thief was not responsible for his actions.
However, he was confined to the psychiatric wing of the Forest prison, as although the judge had stipulated his acquittal in the Order, he did in fact also order medical detention in his verdict. The final Court of Appeal had to rule upon the effects of this discrepancy.
“We still reserve the right to take legal action against the Belgian state for all of the years wasted behind bars,” indicated Saïd E.M.’s barrister Delphine Paci.