BRUSSLES, A man has been sentenced by to 12 months in prison and fined 1,600 Euros for trying to dodge pandemic travel rules by using a fake test certificate.
The man was infected with COVID-19 as he flew to Belgium despite local rules dictating that all travellers must have a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result before flying to the country.
Eleven further defendants received a six-month prison sentence and a fine of 1,600 Euro each for forgery of documents, or in the case of defendants who presented a faked digital certificate, forgery of computer science, reported Belgium news site Aviation24.
Border guards at Brussels Airport have caught 820 using forged test certificates in the last few months and the vast majority accept an immediate 750€ fine to escape further prosecution. Around 20 per cent of those who are caught, however, contest the fine and are sent to court.
Prosecutors are pursuing cases against 160 people and a criminal court dealt with the first group from that backlog on Wednesday.
Most of the defendants didn’t show up at court but one woman pleaded her innocence and was handed down a six month suspended sentence and an 800€ fine. Three other defendants were ordered to complete 60 hours of community service each.
In its ruling, the court concluded that there are "few such textbooks of uninhibited selfish behaviour."
Those who were found guilty on Wednesday had "deliberately endangered society by placing their own freedom to travel above the public interest," Aviation24 reported.
Source: Emirates News Agency