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Belgians Shocked after the Video of Slovak Citizen's Death as 'George Floyd'

Belgians Shocked after the Video of Slovak Citizen's Death as 'George Floyd'

 Belgians are shocked after TV channels on Wednesday (19 August) aired a videotape showing how the police treated a Slovak citizen at the Charleroi airport, in footage that echoes the savagery to which George Floyd fell victim in the US.

The wife of a Slovak man who died in Belgian police custody has called for a fresh inquiry after shocking images of his detention emerged.

"I want to know what happened and why [the police] behaved that way," his wife, Henrieta, told Het Laatse Nieuws, the Belgian newspaper that obtained the footage.

Slovak citizen Jozef Chovanec was arrested at Charleroi airport more than two years ago, after causing disturbance on a flight.

The video, which has no sound, was recorded on 23 February 2018, and wasn’t known to the public until it was published by the Flemish daily Het Laasste Niews on Wednesday (19 August).

It shows Chovanec in his prison cell. He first bangs his head on the wall of his cell, until his face gets covered with blood. Then several policemen enter the room. The footage shows an officer sitting on Chovanec’s rib cage for 18 minutes. Another is filmed laughing during the incident. A female officer makes a Nazi salute.

Chovanec was taken to hospital, but fell into a coma and died the next day, officially of heart attack.

Before his death, Chovanec owned a company that recruited Slovakian construction workers for projects in Belgium, and he frequently commuted between the two countries for his business.

His family said they do not know the reason for his erratic behaviour during police custody, and an autopsy revealed he had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Chovanec didn’t have problems with the law before.

Two years after his death, the investigation is still ongoing. Chovanec’s wife Henrieta, who has seen the video, spoke to the newspaper that obtained the footage, saying she wants to know what happened and why the Belgian police behaved that way.

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