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A Brussels police officer was yesterday sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, with four years suspended, and to pay court costs, for racially motivated violence and using racist language.
In 2009, Nordine Saidi (pictured), who was arrested after taking part in a demonstration calling for the boycott of Israel, was called derogatory names by a chief inspector, known as MC, and told to “go back to [his] own country”. Later he was told “Attach a belt around your belly and go explode in your own country.” After being stripped of his jacket and shoes, he was pointed towards the toilet and told: “For prayers, it is over there.” The chief inspector also punched a subordinate, of north African origin, grabbing him by the throat and calling him derogatory names. Before delivering his verdict, the judge noted that it was not the first time the officer had committed racist offences.
In a statement yesterday, the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism welcomed the verdict. “With this conviction, the court sent a strong signal,” said centre director Edward Delruelle. He added that violence and racism against immigrants, usually Arabs, was “unacceptable, especially from police officers who should serve as an example in our society”.