Farid "le Fou", Belgium's most unmanageable prisoner, is dead

The death has been announced of Farid "le Fou", "Mad" Farid, the enfant terrible of the Belgian penitentiary system.

Over the years Farid Bamouhammad - that is his real name - built up a reputation as Belgium's most unmanageable jailbird.  Farid "le Fou" was a French national of Algerian extraction.  In 1997 he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for murder and attempted murder.  Two years later he was freed ahead of expulsion to France.  In January 2000, however, he took his in-laws hostage and received a new five year sentence.

In 2005 during prison leave he memorably took his former mother- and sister-in-law hostage in a flat off Brussels' historic market square.  His daughter and child were also victims of this outrage.  In 2007 he was sentenced to ten years for kidnapping and attempted murder of a police officer.

Farid "le Fou" was incarcerated across the country, usually causing havoc and triggering industrial disputes among prison guards.  In 2014 he received 11,000 euros in compensation following what was seen as degrading treatment.  In 2015 the European Court for Human Rights ordered Belgium to pay a further 42,000 euros in compensation because he hadn't received the right treatment in jail.

Farid was freed on medical grounds in 2014, but returned to jail later voluntarily.  He was freed again last week and taken to hospital where he died.