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Louise de Bettignies, , détenue de Siegburg
Louise de Bettignies
15/07/1880 - 27/09/1918
Détenue à Siegburg

No improvement since Siegburg 1914-1918

Jacqueline de Croÿ - 16 janvier 2010

Marie de Croÿ, détenue de Siegburg
Marie de Croÿ
26/11/1875 - 20/06 1968
Détenue à Siegburg.
We discover with amazement that there was more humanity to the sick inmates of the prison Siegburg and the hospital Cologne in Germany during the 1rst World War than in the Belgian and French prisons today. Judge for yourself the evidence that has left us the Princess Marie de Croÿ, sentenced to 10 years hard labour on October 11, 1915 and Louise de Bettignies, whose sentence to death March 16, 1916 was commuted to hard labour for life.

Political convictions

The administration of the Siegburg prison classed the detainees into "political prisoners" and "civil prisoners". The EU prohibits the political detentions, but does not protect from false miscarriages of justice. The European Court of Human Rights does not guarantee the right to survive the conditions of detention, because it takes from two to eight years to judge the case, according to the emergency they grant it. Unlawful detentions can thus legally be longer than two world wars and serial genocides.

Belgium, France, Switzerland, Holland and Portugal are unilaterally exposed for false miscarriages of justice based on slander, in order to cover corruption. The political convictions are then Made heavier by infamy in order to ruin the reputation of people who have simply done their duty, while some the German warders were saying to the political prisoners: "In your place I would have done the same."

Extortion of confessions

In 1914-1918, the abuse reserved for the extortion of confessions which depended on the army, under the Ministry of War. They currently rely on the psychosocial services of the prisons under the Ministry of Justice. Prisoners of war and doctors suspected the use of drugs they described as "exciters which prevented from thinking calmly". The effect described corresponds to the effect of amphetamines, which deliver from the concept of danger, give the feeling of being a genius, which drives to talk nonsense. Marie de Croÿ has fasted throughout her trial, to make sure not to expose members of her Resistance network.

Today, all is done to eliminate witnesses of corruption by false confessions and by inciting them to suicide before the prosecution or the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. These false confessions have to "clear" the corrupted state.

The conditions of detention are decided by the psychosocial services of the prisons. The drugs are replaced by deprivation of sleep, which affects the reflection and that can also have hallucinogenic effects. The prisoners can be woken-up every quarter of an hour under the pretext of "suicide risk" or to "check if they are not dead".

The concept of 1914-1918 to debase the detainee has seriously worsened. The invader was said to be the victim resistant, who was at the worst, treated as a murderer for having helped an Allied soldier. Today, the psychosocial services of the prisons may, under the pretext of "security measures" and call for barbaric practices such as a rape called "full search", by a finger in the vagina for women and in the anus for men. The only time the prisoner was forced to undress at the prison of Siegburg was when they arrived to take a bath.


The German procedures were very quick and sentences very heavy, even if they were limited to the time of the war. Marie Linthout was sentenced to 8 months in prison for having said "dirty Hun." Marthe Flavigny was sentenced to 3 years for having hidden her 18-years-old son. A family of six persons, including the 75-years-old grandmother were sentenced to 15 years in prison for having hidden an Englishman, etc... The alleged facts were real, except for Edith Cavell, shot for spying when she did nothing more than Marie de Croÿ.

Marcel Vervloesem has exposed with his NGO the corruption, which covers organised paedo criminality in the region of Antwerp since 1988. Belgium let the first cabal to destroy that man last from 1992 to 1999. This cabal was ridden by a second cabal by children of the first detractors. That judgment was object of delaying tactics from 1998 to 2008. The European Court of Human Rights has eight extra years to determine the legality of the proceedings. It might take him 24 years before getting justice, for false accusation.

France and Switzerland use psychiatrists to declare insane those who complain about corruption, which allows to steal billions of dollars every year and even cover-up murders. An French expert, known for being addicted to the core, has even been designated to clear assassins by a psychiatric analysis of the dead man. He arrived at the conclusion of suicide.

Release for good behaviour

"You're here for ten years, but if you behave well, you can expect from our Emperor the shortening your sentence," said an official from the prison Siegburg to Princess Marie, after having read her conviction. In principle, prisoners of the 21st century can get a parole for good behaviour, after the third sentence in Belgium, after the half of the sentence in France. In practice, psychosocial services of the Department of Justice have the authority to keep inmates in prison beyond the sentence to which they were convicted, and abuse it.

Problems of daily life

The food was not a major problem in 1915. At 7 o'clock in the morning, there was coffee without sugar and milk. At midday, lunch with a vegetable soup, a bit of meat and a piece of black bread. At 4 o'clock, tea with a hot drink, a piece of cheese, sauerkraut, half a herring or salted cod could replace the meat of lunch. Dinner was oatmeal or barley beaded soup. In 1917, all were suffering from hunger, including the guards, who had the same treatment as the prisoners. The potatoes were requisitioned to take the alcohol needed to manufacture ammunition.

Prisoners of Siegburg were suffering from cold and lack of light at the fall of the night. The great breakthrough in a century is the heat and the electricity in the prisons. The food is still insufficient, but the prisoners who can afford it can buy some at the canteen.

The incoming and outgoing mail was censored at the prison Siegburg, but the packages were allowed. Inmates can not receive packages in Belgian prisons. We know from the guards that the incoming mail of certain prisoners is currently photocopied. Letters and postcards can be retained. Inmates doing the housework have found letters addressed to other inmates in the waste paper basket of the administration. Not a single letter from Marcel Vervloesem prison bears the postmark of the town where he is detained.

Psychiatry in prison

The psychiatric patients were not maintained in Siegburg, but sent to a specialized asylum. The Princess Marie judged that the solitary confinement was "extremely painful" and instigator of the loss of mind of the more fragile inmates. She was regularly called to boost the morale of the prisoners in whom they had observed the first signs of madness, which would be unimaginable in a Belgian prison. The law no more allows keeping psychiatric patients in prison. These patients have all-the-same been removed from institutions "for economic reasons", and sent to prison in 2006. They represent 50% of prison overcrowding. In 2010, prisoners in good health are deported by force to the prison of Tilburg, in Holland.


The description of the dungeons of the prison Siegburg is identical that of "observation cells" of the prison Turnhout. These "cells smaller than others, and whose high-placed window is covered with a grating that allows only a gloomy day." Louise de Bettignies has been sent to the dungeon for having initiated the prisoners' refusal to produce ammunition that was to be used against their own country, which was a violation of the Hague Conventions. She has earned that right from the German authorities. The psychosocial services of the prison of Turnhout sent Marcel Vervloesem to the dungeon and banned from going to church, under the pretext of "protection measures".
Prisonnières de guerre à la prison de Siegburg
Promenade après suite à l'adoucissement du régime à la prison de Siegburg (14-18).

The authority and assistance to the prisoners

The German Governor General von Bissing answered the Countess de Merode-Westerloo on what he describes as the "so-called inhuman treatment inflicted to the Princess Marie de Croÿ", expressing his "deepest astonishment that a princess of German blood dares criticize in such terms the measures taken by the German authority". He made what the Belgian government calls a "thorough investigation" which has come to the conclusion that "the Princess was treated with all possible consideration." Her jaws were decalcified and she could no longer eat. She only weighed 42 kilos.

The German Interior Minister met Marie de Croÿ in her cell at Siegburg within the framework of a tour of inspection of all the prisons. He very politely asked her if she had some complaints. She asked if he thought it was fair that political prisoners, all honourable women, were incarcerated with the civilian prisoners. Some were violent women who had killed with their own hands. Others had shameful disease. The minister looked embarrassed. Soon after, the women's quarters of the prison Siegburg was reserved for political prisoners. The detention condition could be softened. They could, for example, walk two by two, allowing them to talk to each other, since there was no risk of quarrels.

A century later, the Minister of Justice of Belgium does not condescend to answer the protests of another one of those damned Princesses de Croÿ, about the inhuman treatment to Marcel Vervloesem in one of his prisons. He probably is also "deeply surprised that a princess of Belgian blood dares criticize in such terms the measures taken by the Belgian authority."

The minister has condescended, in his magnanimity, but above all by fear of Karl Zero, a French journalist, to have Marcel Vervloesem transferred to another prison to grant him "more humane conditions of detention." The minister ordered a "thorough investigation", which had concluded that the Belgian authority "repeats its full confidence in its psychosocial services" that prohibit medical care that the German Department of war would have authorized a century earlier. There is no possible dialogue with the Department of Justice, who even answer to reporters: "we do not communicate about Mr Vervloesem".


Question of life or death

The doctor of the Siegburg prison in 1914-1918 was nicknamed "Dr. Get Out" for his way to shorten the consultations. The German ministry of war gave the authorisation for the prisoners to have surgical intervention in a hospital if they endangered their lives by fear of being operated in the prison infirmary, where the poor sanitary conditions hardly left any chance of survival.

"Doctor Get Out" requested the hospitalization of Princess Marie to the Department of War, but the response was delayed of three weeks. A prison official told her: "These Prussian want to give you time to die here. Do not make them this pleasure." She was hospitalized July 4, 1917 and released at the end of the war, November 13, 1918. She had such excellent treatment that she was able to re-offend during the 2nd World War and she died at age 92.

Louise de Bettignie was operated of a tumour at the infirmary of the Siegburg prison on April 15, 1918. The guards would bring her flowers, lilacs and Forget-me-not. Even the terrible Frau Ruge brought her the flowering twig of an apple tree. Louise Bettignies was transferred July 25 to a hospital in Cologne, where she died two months later, on September 27, 1918.

Today, the detainees of the Belgian prisons can be hospitalized only in a coma, one foot shackled to hospital bed, only if their hope of survival is limited to three days. Even then, the Minister of Justice may oppose it. Marcel Vervloesem has been hospitalized seven times to the point of death, each time returned to prison by denying him the treatment that was necessary to prevent the following hospitalization. He was shackled, as an animal, 591 hours "for health reasons".

The prisoners of war were not shackled in the German hospitals. The door was just locked. The door was just locked. One feels a genuine gratefulness of sick prisoners for the kindness and the general desire to save their lives.

Today, we only see the will to kill sick prisoners, or push them to suicide with a coldness and cruelty that goes beyond the memory of Siegburg 1914-1918. The psychosocial services do not either bring flowers, nor encouragement. They have carte blanche to throw a book at the head of a sick prisoner, telling him he will not get the medical treatment ordered by the prison doctor, as long as he does not make false confessions, to clear the ministers who have covered-up the false miscarriages of justice dictated in view to kill him.


Independence of the magistrates

The judges have more the freedom of the German martial courts of the 2nd war. The officer who sentenced Mary de Croÿ to ten years hard labour for having recurred in 1940-1945 stood at attention before her and said: "You have done your duty, Princess." It is hard to imagine a judge standing at attention in front of Marcel Vervloesem saying he has done his duty for having preferred death in prison than silence about a crime against humanity. His last condemnation to die in prison was dictated by the department of justice, to a magistrate who based her decision on a document missing from the dossier because the Department of Justice had refused to join it to the dossier.

A new judge was in charge to judge whether he should be maintained in detention. Our Minister of Justice has excelled in inventiveness to assassinate "legally" this prisoner who survives only by serial miracles. The medical services have found a worsening of the cardiac failure of Marcel Vervloesem. He was then imposed to be judged outside his jurisdiction to follow the Antwerp judge of sentences implementation to Hasselt, rather than picking a date when this judge would be in his own jurisdiction. This was allowing condemning him legally to ten days of hell, to which he will again only survive by miracle.

He was handcuffed in a cage van without heat for a day trip to be taken to the prison of Hasselt, after having stopped in all the prisons. He was then imposed a strict solitary regime, which deprives him from the daily blood tests which are to alert the doctors if he is three days away from his death, so he can be granted his right to die shackled in a hospital. Two administrative mistakes prolongs the deprivation of his rights of prisoners: the “forget” to transfer his money, denying him access to telephone or post stamps, then they “forget” to bring him back to the prison where the regulation cannot deny him his rights.

As in the Siegburg prison, the prisoners, even the real bandits, help each other in a moving manner. Thanks to that, we know that the sentence implementation judge has reviled the psychosocial services and demanded the documents missing in the file. It is the first judge in 22 years of persecution of Marcel Vervloesem who has wanted to pronounce a judgment on the basis of a complete dossier. We do know no more yet, but a sole fair magistrate in a world where the guarantors of democracy have the reputation of having brains and emotions dehydrated by drugs, is giving hope to an entire country.

The Judge said Marcel Vervloesem would have prison leave. His life is in great danger because the governement opposes that a doctor may treat him. If you are told tomorrow that he has committed suicide, keep in mind that he was murdered.

They said that the blood of Edith Cavell would mark those who had made her shot on the basis of false charges. All the German people paid it by a reputation of murderers, at a time its authorities were more human than the Belgian ones. The blood of Marcel Vervloesem will mark those who have made his blood shed afloat by denying him medical treatment. His almost mystical survival to so many attempted murders whereas he has fought all his life to save children from sexual exploitation leaves one solution: free him alive and leave him in peace.


Video: 15 months miracle survival since...


Editeur responsable: Fondation Princesses de Croÿ et Massimo Lancellotti - 10 Rue Faider - 1060 Bruxelles - Belgique - Droit de réponse:

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