Parliament Passes Resolution Expressing Regret over Chovanec’s Death

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A doctor checking on Jozef Chovanec in a detention cell at Brussels South Charleroi Airport (photo by TASR/AP)

Bratislava, September 2 (TASR) – The Slovak Parliament has expressed regret and concern over the death of Slovak national Jozef Chovanec in Belgium at Brussels South Charleroi Airport in February 2018, condemning the inappropriate action taken by the Belgian authorities, obliging the Slovak Government to require a proper investigation of the incident and assignation of responsibility as well as expressing its sincere condolences to the family and relatives of the deceased, TASR learnt on Wednesday.


Parliament did so by adopting a resolution on the death of Jozef Chovanec and the action taken by the Belgian security forces at its extraordinary meeting on Wednesday. It was presented by head of Parliament Boris Kollar (We Are Family) and Parliamentary Vice-chairs Juraj Seliga (For the People), Milan Laurencik (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS), Gabor Grendel (OLaNO) and Peter Pellegrini (Independent).

“Parliament condemns the undue and rude conduct of the security forces of the Kingdom of Belgium when detecting and taking action against Mr. Chovanec,” reads the resolution. They also obliged the Slovak Government to intervene, using all diplomatic and legal means, with the Belgian Government for the purpose of properly investigating the incident and assigning criminal and disciplinary responsibility in relation to the intervention of the Belgian security forces.

“Especially with regard to the adequacy as well as its intensity and the extremist manifestations of one of the intervening members of the Belgian police who took part in the operation,” said the parliamentary leadership. The Government should also request information from the investigation of the police action and the procedure of the security forces and inform the Slovak Parliament.

At the same time, Parliament protested against the unjustified delay of the investigation and concealment of evidence.

Chovanec died in February 2018 following a tussle with the police at Brussels South Charleroi Airport. According to what has been published in the media, the man crossed a barrier and boarded a plane without authorisation. Police officers removed him from the plane and detained him in a cell. The original reports stated that the man hit himself violently several times, forcing the police to intervene again and pacify him. Chovanec subsequently suffered a heart attack and was transported to hospital, where he fell into a coma from which he never recovered.

However, recently published footage from a camera located in the cell indicates that the events that preceded the heart attack were in fact different from what was originally stated. The video shows five police officers sitting and kneeling on the man’s chest. Another makes a Nazi salute, at which the others laugh. The officers knelt on Chovanec for 16 minutes.