race and class april 2015

The Guantánamo-isation of Belgium (Luk Vervaet in Race & Class April-June 2015)

race and class april 2015Table of Contents

April-June 2015;

Robbie McVeigh : Living the peace process in reverse: racist violence and British nationalism in Northern Ireland

Luk Vervaet : The Guantánamo-isation of Belgium

Cian T. McMahon : The pages of whiteness: theory, evidence, and the American immigration debat

Sevasti Trubeta :‘Rights’ in the grey area: undocumented border crossers on Lesvos




Guantanamo chez nous MY


The Guantánamo-isation of Belgium

Luk Vervaet


Features of the American global war on terror, with its Guantánamo Bay and other secret prisons, where captured detainees are kept outside the national rule of law and international conventions, are being emulated by European democracies, which introduce similar illegal concepts and practices into their penal policies. Now an enthusiastic partner of the US in the war on terror, the Belgian state, fractured internally by the linguistic and regional divide and incapable of finding solutions to the economic crisis, has followed the US in its justice and penal policies. The author charts the erosion of liberal principles within justice policies, from the abandonment of Belgium’s law on universal jurisdiction to the introduction of anti-terror laws and measures; a cooperation agreement with Morocco; and the cavalier attitude to evidence extracted under torture. He examines the significance of the extradition to the US of Tunisian national Nizar Trabelsi. Belgian penal policy has U-turned, especially since the moral panic over child molester and killer Marc Dutroux, and now prisons are massively overcrowded as punishments are ratcheted up. The author argues that the reason for Belgium’s apparent subservience to the US and NATO, and its move to punitive prison policies, lies in its wish to retain its central role within European institutions as it struggles to maintain economic and political stability.




Prison activist and editor. Currently preparing a book on the introduction of maximum security prisons in Belgium and Europe, including the practice of solitary confinement. In 2008, Luk started the Belgian Prisoners' Family & Friends Association. (http://familiesfriendsassociation.blogspot.be/ In 2009, with Farida Aarrass he launched the Campaign Free Ali Aarrass (www.freeali.eu ). In 2012 he organised the Committee of the Families of European detainees in Morocco (http://prisonnierseuropeensaumaroc.blogspot.be/). Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011). Contributions : « Etats généraux sur les conditions carcérales en Europe : La condition pénitentiaire, regards belges, français et européens"» (2010, éditions MGER) ; « The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe »(2010, Race & Class) ; « Gevangenissen: spiegel van onze samenleving » (2013, MO Mondiaal Nieuws) Publishing house : www.antidote.be

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