Belgian Justice Minister Paul Van Tigchelt is facing heat over a gruesome story of abuse in Belgian prison. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER MATTHYS


Horrific video of Belgian prisoner’s ‘torture’ spurs calls for justice minister’s resignation


Footage has emerged showing a man of Indian descent being brutally tortured in a Belgian prison in Antwerp over a period of several days.

The alleged victim is now reportedly fighting for his life in hospital.

In light of the appalling video that surfaced on March 13, Belgian Government opposition parties have demanded the resignation of the justice minister Paul Van Tigchelt.

For years, Belgian prisons have had a bad reputation, which unions say is primarily due to a lack of funding and staff shortages. The latest incident seems to mark a new low.

It is alleged the prisoner was severely beaten up by his five cellmates who also forced him to eat faeces and anally raped him with a broomstick handle.

He is  also said to be suffering serious burns after boiling water was poured over him.

In the film footage, the man has bruises all over his body and shows signs of strangulation, injuries to his ears, possibly caused by razor blades, while his pubic area is also brutalised.

Videos of his apparent ordeal, allegedly made by the perpetrators, were shared via Snapchat and circulated across the Belgian crime scene.

Joris van der Aa, a crime journalist at news outlet Gazet van Antwerpen, said she had seen the footage and described the horrific contents.

“You see a man sitting trembling on a chair with his eye closed and his nose bleeding. A sandwich of excrement was shoved in his mouth and he had to confess to a myriad of wrongdoings.

“Then he was anally raped with a broomstick while screaming out in pain.”

The Belgian prosecutor has now called for the arrest of the other inmates on suspicion of attempted murder, rape and torture in the Antwerp prison.

For the time being, it is unknown how the savage assault, if proven to have occurred, could have gone on for so long without any help for the alleged victim. An official inquiry is said to be ongoing.

Belgian media has reported that the prisoner’s fellow inmates also instructed him to fake being asleep when prison warders visited the cell.

The apparent victim is said to be a 41-year-old who was in pre-trial detention for the alleged attempted murder of his ex-partner’s new partner.

He has, it was reported, been convicted in the past for the rape and sexual assault of minors.

A 24-hour strike had started at the prison at 10pm on the night of March 10. Allegedly, the torture had already begun before the strike began, continued during the strike and carried on “unnoticed” after it ended.

According to the relevant unions, the atrocious incident is a direct result of the Belgian State’s years of prison mismanagement.

Mario Heylen, a guard at Antwerp prison and representative of the Socialist trade union ACOD, told VRT News: “The dramatic events that took place in Antwerp prison were allowed to unfold because of the difficult conditions in which staff have to work and detainees are housed.”

She stressed that – due to overcrowding – prison guards limit checks to seeing if someone “shows signs of life”.

“You can blame that entirely on the appalling and scandalous conditions in which staff have to work.”

Van Tigchelt said blaming the alleged incident on prison overcrowding and the shortage of prison guards was “premature”.