Arbi Zarmaev, Bruges prison: Open Letter to minister of justice

From: Jan Boeykens []
Sent: 19 April 2011 17:50
CC: and six others

Cabinet Justice
Attn Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck
Boulevard de Waterloo 115
1000 Brussels

Dear Mr. De Clerck,

Concerns: Mr Arbi Zarmaev, Bruges prison

I received no reply from your part regarding my letter to you regarding Mr. Zarmaev, whom you were ready, after your contacts with the Russian embassy, to deliver to the Russian and Chechen authorities dead or alive.

The Zarmaev family received no response either to the four registered letters they sent to you over the past 21 months whereas at your cabinet’s office we were reassured that “registered mail will always be answered”.

Meanwhile I learned that Arbi Zarmaev has fallen victim to torture and isolation practices in the prisons of Hasselt and Bruges, and that he was treated with psychiatric drugs while locked up in his concrete cage of 2 x 3 meters, where a little light shines through the opaque frame attached to the ceiling.
The cage that actually is best described as a dog house, although a dog is undoubtedly better off in a dog asylum, is apparently only 1,5 metres wide, because the “bed” (if it deserves the word) is hardly wide enough to lie down on.

The prison psychiatrist who threatened that Arbi’s brother was going to be locked up in an isolation cell if he was not going to shut up and who identified himself to the Italian doctor Giorgio Gagliardi as a regular doctor who was not aware of the psychiatric drugs Arbi had to swallow, would have described his behaviour a “uncontrollable and dangerous” when in fact he himself is a danger to others because he makes sure that other people are imprisoned under such circumstances.

Mr. Zarmaev is physically exhausted and is totally malnourished but apparently you refuse to hospitalize him despite my urging you to do this in letters to members of your cabinet and in open letters.

I learned that the injuries to Arbi’s wrists and ankles almost went to the bone and were severely infected, resulting from the fact that during the 21 months of his imprisonment he had all the time had cuffs on his wrists and ankles. He thought it was the custom in Belgian prisons but, thanks to our letter, he begins to wonder why the other prisoners were not similarly cuffed.

According to his family all the money has disappeared from his account so that he cannot afford anything (additional food, television, stamps for sending letters, and so on).

May I ask you to respect the existing prison law?

Counting on your intervention in this matter, and awaiting your reply, I remain,


Jan Boeykens
Faiderstraat 10
1060 Sint-Gilles / Brussels

Photo: European Parliament, Brussels


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