"The rats crawl around in his cell, nibble at his food and crawl over his body at night," explains Frank Scheerlinck, the detainee’s lawyer. According to him, his client - a 22-year-old man from Genk - is locked up in the Sint-Gillis prison in inhuman conditions. He has therefore filed a complaint against the Belgian government.
According to the lawyer, it goes further than just problems with vermin: "My client is only allowed to take a shower once a week at the most. And he is addressed in French, but only speaks Dutch. These problems have been known to the prison for years."
Belgium has already been condemned in the past by the European Court of Human Rights for the way in which detainees are locked up.
According to the Prison Service, the Saint-Gilles prison is very alert when it comes to vermin. "We have previously found that the problem is under control. As soon as only one rat is detected, a specialised pest company is immediately notified. They come by at very short notice and use different products to avoid getting used to one particular product."