A Slovak died after being detained at a Belgian airport. He might have fallen victim of police violence

The media have published pictures of police officers kneeling on the man’s chest.

The Charleroi airportThe Charleroi airport (Source: AP/TASR)

Police in Belgium are looking into the death of a Slovak who died shortly after being detained at Charleroi airport two years ago. His family claims he was the victim of police violence, the ČTK newswire reported.

Several Belgian media outlets published pictures from prison cameras capturing one police officer giving a Nazi salute, while others were laughing at it. Moreover, another police officer was kneeling on the man’s chest for about 16 minutes, the Sme daily wrote.

“Constricting the lungs of our client for 16 minutes isn’t normal,” said Lennert Dierickx, the lawyer representing the family of the deceased Slovak, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Slow investigation questioned

Related articleRTVS: Slovak forced from a plane in Belgium dies Read more 

Jozef Chovanec (39) was detained on February 23, 2018 at Charleroi airport after a fight with police officers. He was escorted from the plane, as police described it, after he acted violently and the pilot refused to take off.

Earlier media reports suggested that he injured himself in detention. The police officers described how they had tried to calm the man down after he had been banging his head on the wall and started bleeding. After this intervention, the man suffered from a heart attack and was transported to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries after being in a coma for several days, TASR wrote.

Chovanec’s relatives are also criticizing the slow actions of the Belgian authorities. The prosecutor in Charleroi said all the police officers participating in the intervention have been heard, and the investigation that is still underway is nearing its end.

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