578) Report reveals secret deal between Belgian politician and a terrorist against Turkey

An investigative report into the disappearance of Fehriye Erdal, who was convicted by a Belgian court of being a member of a terrorist group, claimed that a “secret deal” was signed between the former Belgian interior minister, Erdal's lawyers and the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)..
The almost 120-page report drafted by the Committee I and Committee P -- which supervise the intelligence service and police force in Belgium respectively -- presented their investigative report to several parliamentarians and senators last week. The report, which leveled harsh criticism at the country's justice and interior ministers, has drawn severe criticism from Belgium's political circles since the day it was unveiled.

The independent committees said in the report that Belgian authorities, who claimed that there was no legal grounds to arrest Erdal prior to the court verdict, did not arrest her because of the “secret deal” signed between Erdal's lawyers and former Interior Minister Antoine Duquesne, a member of the Liberal Party.

Belgium is now accused by its allies -- the United States, Turkey, France, Spain and Britain -- of being a “backyard” for terrorist organizations, concluding deals with terrorists and not participating in efforts to jointly combat international terrorism.

The committees had been instructed to investigate the disappearance of Erdal, who was sentenced to four years in prison for being a member of the DHKP/C.

The report also asserted that Interior Minister Patrick Dewael could have ordered the arrest of Erdal, who was under surveillance at the time by the Belgian security service, although Dewael has always stressed that she could not have been detained prior to her conviction.

However, an extensive legal analysis furnished in the committees' report indicated that Erdal could have been taken into custody by the security service and claimed that the danger of Erdal escaping had been seriously underestimated.

The Erdal case has strained relations between Ankara and Brussels because Belgian authorities refused to extradite her to Turkey, where she stands accused of being involved in the 1996 killing of a prominent businessman. The Belgian court declined to try her for crimes committed in Germany, saying it did not have legal competence to do so.

April 22, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News


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