Tanguy Taller: The Heartbreaking Story of a Belgian Prisoner in Cambodia

2024-01-02 13:02:00

Tanguy Taller, originally from Bruges, has been imprisoned in Cambodia for five years following a conviction for drug trafficking. He was convicted following a statement from another Belgian, who subsequently died and reportedly retracted this conviction before dying.

The Bruges resident communicates frequently with his lawyer through telephone calls from prison. Bert Vanmechelen therefore closely monitors his client’s conditions of detention. In an interview with VRT NWS, the lawyer said: “This is a heartbreaking story. This man has now been in prison for almost 1,700 days. He is in a block with 400 prisoners. There are high temperatures, the electricity is regularly cut off, he has already been physically attacked on several occasions. In the prison there is someone who suffers from tuberculosis, who is constantly coughing up blood, someone who has scabies, someone who has HIV, someone who has hepatitis. The detention conditions are terrible, it’s hell there. Other foreign prisoners have often left in less than a year, why can’t this be possible with him?”

To move things forward, Bert Vanmechelen contacted the Belgian State to obtain “a perspective” for his client. The Minister of Justice, Paul Van Tigchelt, told our colleagues at the VRT that a letter had been sent to Cambodia before countering criticism that the Belgian state was too passive in the face of Tanguy Taller’s situation: “ We are not abandoning our compatriots, including him. We are maintaining diplomatic pressure at a high level and, on the other hand, we are trying to conclude a transfer agreement with Cambodia. This is the only legal action I can take to bring him in. Of course, it is possible that Cambodia will pardon him or reduce his sentence.”

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