Few foreign prisoners sent home

Despite bi-lateral agreements being in place with a host of countries, including Morocco and Albania, only a very few of the foreigners convicted of crimes in Belgium serve their sentences in their countries of origin.

Belgium and Morocco reached an agreement on the repatriation of prisoners three years ago.

However, the Moroccans still have to ratify the accord.

There are currently around 800 Moroccan nationals serving sentences in Belgian gaols, 40 of whom could be considered for repatriation.

Allowing foreigners convicted of crimes in Belgium to serve their sentences in their countries of origin is one of the measures introduced to cut prison overcrowding.

Generally, prisoners must first give their agreement before they can be repatriated.

However, this is not the case for Moroccan nationals.

Just 51 foreign prisoners have been repatriated since the first of the accords was signed five years ago.

Most of those repatriated were either Dutch or Romanian nationals.

Around 200 prisoners, most of whom Dutch, requested a transfer to a gaol in their home country