The Brussels Criminal Court has for the first time sentenced a man who tried to leave the city’s airport with a falsified PCR test to one year in prison, according to local press.
It is the first such sentence since Belgian authorities announced in April that they will prosecute such crimes strictly, the daily De Standaard reported Wednesday.
Between April 19 and June 11, 576 people were caught with a falsified PCR test at Brussels airport, EFE reported.
Belgium has allowed travel abroad, beyond the essential ones, since April 19. However, travelers must fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
To combat abuses, the College of Prosecutors issued guidelines to prosecute people who falsify these forms or certificates for covid tests, stating that those who use false documents must be immediately summoned before the criminal court or accept an out-of-court settlement of 750 euros.
The man convicted Tuesday, who had presented himself at the airport with a negative PCR from a friend that he had forged, refused to accept the out-of-court settlement and also failed to appear in court, which ruled one year in prison against him because his conduct “is not only anti-social, but potentially life-threatening” and, therefore, “only severe punishment is appropriate in this case.”
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