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Belgian High Court Backs Release of Illegal Entrants

The Court of Appeals today upheld an Antwerp court’s cancellation of the Antwerp prosecutor’s order to arrest five Austrian Jews who had entered the country illegally.

The prosecutor’s warrant of arrest had alleged that there was danger of the refugees evading legal proceedings since they had no permanent residence in Belgium. The Antwerp court ruled, however, that such a danger did not exist since the refugees were unable to leave the country and there was no country willing to receive them. The refugees were released but they will be prosecuted under the law providing a penalty of not more than three month’s imprisonment for being caught as stowaways on a Belgian vessel.