Slovaks unsatisfied by Belgian investigation into police custody death

After being detained by the Belgian federal police at Charleroi Airport in February 2018, Jozef Chovanec was held in a stress position by officers for several minutes, with his head wrapped in a blanket, which imminently caused death. [Still image from video footage first released by Het Laatste Nieuws]

During a visit to the EU foreign affairs council in Brussels, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok appealed for a meeting with his Belgian counterpart, Sophie Wilmès, to discuss the investigation into the death of Slovak citizen, Jan Chovanec, in Belgian police custody in February 2018.

In late June, Belgium announced that André Desenfants, the second-highest-ranking officer in the country’s federal police, will be punished in the ongoing investigation.

“We recognise that the administrative processes involved in investigating a case take some time. However, after three years, we expect concrete results of the investigation into the cause of death and the bringing of possible perpetrators to justice,” Korčok wrote after meeting his counterpart. He recalled that his conversation with the minister was one of several dozens of interventions that Slovakia has addressed to the Belgian side, both at the working and political level, since the death of Chovanec.

The foreign ministry will continue to appeal to its Belgian partners and use all available means to help close the case, he stressed.

After being detained by the Belgian federal police at Charleroi Airport in February 2018, Jozef Chovanec was held in a stress position by officers for several minutes immediately before his death.

After the video of his detention was leaked to media last summer prompting shock in both Belgium and Slovakia.

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