Belgian court halts deportation of Sudanese migrants

Published 09.10.2017 00:00
Updated 09.10.2017 20:41

A Belgian court on Monday ordered a halt to the deportation of around two-dozen Sudanese migrants following an uproar over Belgium's invitation to officials from Khartoum to identify them.

The Belgian government has said it will challenge the ban issued by a court in Liege amid fears the migrants risked being mistreated back in Sudan.

Sudanese officials visited Belgium last month to help identify the migrants, prompting the League of Human Rights (LDH) to accuse Brussels of collaborating with "one of the worst dictatorships" in the world.

The LDH said there were "serious grounds" to believe that the deportation of the migrants to Sudan would expose them to mistreatment by the government in Khartoum.

The court said the Belgian government "is banned from repatriating" 26 Sudanese migrants "to Sudan or to any other EU member state," according to a court statement.

The court said it would enforce the measure with a "fine of 20,000 euros."

Belgian officials said one Sudanese was deported on Friday, while others refused to board the plane, a spokeswoman for the Belgian immigration office, Dominique Ernould, said.

"They are all terrorized by the idea of returning to Sudan," the LDH said.

Hundreds of Sudanese were arrested in Belgium, but only a handful have been able to consult a lawyer, the LDH said. Up to 46 people could be deported.

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