About 285 Belgians are detained abroad, according to an estimate based on data from the Foreign Affairs Department.
The detainees, who include 266 men and 19 women, are being held mainly in France (63), Spain (53) and the Netherlands (33). Another 30 or so are in Moroccan jails, while 25 have been registered in the United Kingdom.
The reasons for detention are not all known, but a spokesman for the department said most were related to drugs and violence, followed by “morality” offences and fraud.
Morality is defined as a descriptive account of social and personal values about the ways people in society should behave. This type of crime generally offends those values, or ‘code of conduct.’ This type of crime includes prostitution, bigamy, pornography, illegal gambling and illegal drug use.
However, the real number of Belgians in foreign jails is not easy to determine since some institutions do not systematically report releases. Moreover, data of this nature is not centralised, so information has to be gathered by province or region, or even by contacting individual penitentiaries directly.