Dutch agree to hand over drug suspects to Belgium | News

18th August 2017, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands on Friday agreed to extradite five suspects wanted on drug-smuggling charges by Belgium, after earlier suspending the handover due to concerns for their welfare in detention.

“Five suspects can be handed over to Belgium,” an Amsterdam court said in a statement, adding that “it has not been proven” that the suspects “are in danger of having their rights violated in a Belgian prison”.

On August 1, the Netherlands had refused to turn over eight men sought by Antwerp prosecutors for allegedly being part of an international gang smuggling drugs from South America into Europe.

The Amsterdam court at the time said it needed more information about the men’s detention conditions because of fears of over-crowding in Belgian jails and concerns that inmates could be “subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment,” according to a July statement by the anti-torture committee of the Council of Europe.

“Belgian authorities have guaranteed the detention of these people in an establishment that respects European standards,” the Amsterdam court said in its decision agreeing to the transfer.

But it stressed that its decision applied only to the five suspects and not to the other three detainees, whose extradition cases have yet to be heard.

© 2017 AFP