Pool incident asylum-seeker must be freed

Magistrates in Veurne (West Flanders) have ruled that a 23-year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker that is suspected of having inappropriately touched a 12-year-old girl at a swimming pool in the West Flemish coastal municipality of Koksijde must be released from the secure asylum centre where he has been held for the past week.

The Judicial Authorities and the Aliens’ Office now have 24 hours to appeal.

The man is suspected of having inappropriately touched a girl at Koksijde Swimming Baths. He denies the allegations and says that he had wanted to help the girl after she had got into difficulty on the waterslide. 

The Secretary of State responsible for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken ordered that the man be held at a secure asylum centre, even though he had been released after questioning. The investigation into the incident is still on-going.

The man has been held at a secure asylum centre since 24 January. The man’s solicitor Jonas Bel requested his release, a request that was granted at Tuesday morning’s hearing.

This means that the man may be released. The Judicial Authorities and the Aliens’ Office have 24 hours to appeal. If they don’t do so the man will be released on Wednesday.