European Court slates Belgium for treatment of mentally ill prisoners

The European Court of Human Rights has given Belgium two years in which to put its house in order. The court says that Belgium is failing structurally when it comes to dealing with prisoners who are interned because they are mentally ill.

The court believes that Belgium is not managing to provide adequate housing for delinquents with mental problems as the way they are held at the minute does not meet their therapeutic needs. The court also ruled that Belgium is violating the European Convention on Human rights.

Earlier the court ordered Belgium to pay an internee detained for sexual offences in Merksplas prison 16,000 euros as he was not held in appropriate accommodation where he could be treated but was detained at the prison's psychiatric wing for nine years. The court has now suspended its treatment of all complaints for the time being.