Belgian prosecutors accused of wanting “to make an example” of defendants in drugs case

Belgian prosecutors accused of wanting
Photo: Boudewijn Huysmans - Unsplash

De Standaard – The criminal court of Brussels has given a range of sentences to thirty defendants who were part of the same trial relating to participation in the drugs trade in the neighbourhood of Peterbos. 

On November 26 and December 14 2021, two waves of house searches in Brussels and in the Flemish municipalities of Asse and Puurs led to charges against 31 suspects – thirty of whom have been sentenced. Prosecutors had sought prison sentences of between 18 months and 10 years, depending on the allegations relating to each individual. 

The three main defendants in the case were sentenced to six, seven and eight years in prison, whilst another eleven were given community service of between 225 to 300 hours. 

However, there were allegations that prosecutors had sought to “make an example” of those involved in this particular case. Nathalie Gallant, a lawyer for two defendants in the trial, told VRT NWs that the prosecutor had set out to “show that some neighbourhoods in Brussels have been caused to rot by urban gangs”.

 She added that despite this intention, she felt the judge had been fair in the sentences he had given, saying that the punishment “are relatively balanced” and adding that the “judge has punished the gang leaders and repeat offenders more severely”. 

The area of Peterbos is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Belgium due to drug trafficking and the arms trade.

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