"Asylum secretary knowingly sent migrants back to face torture"

The asylum and migration secretary Theo Francken is once again under fire after it emerged that the office of the Belgian commissioner general for refugees and stateless persons warned the junior minister as early as October 24 that refugees from Sudan were at risk if they were sent back to their country of origin, a practice that continued after this date.

The document was confidential and never publicised by the asylum secretary. In its defence the office of the asylum secretary points out that people wishing to stay here and invoke article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights that stipulates that nobody may be subjected to torture must file an asylum application too. It claims that many Sudanese migrants fail to do this.

In recent weeks several Sudanese nationals repatriated to their country have claimed that they were tortured. Opposition lawmaker Laaouej challenges the asylum secretary and says people were sent back to face torture with the secretary's full knowledge.