Activists in Belgium protested against the involvement of KU Leuven (the Catholic University of Leuven) in LAW-TRAIN, the European-funded research project that brings together the Israeli national police and the Ministry of Public Security with Spanish and Belgian federal prosecutors and police agencies to study interrogation techniques.
On Wednesday, 15 February, 15 activists protested during the annual professors’ procession from the University Hall to St. Peter’s Church, on the day of the Patron Saint of the University. The Leuven Action Group on Palestine noted that “the protesters find it outrageous that KU Leuven cooperates with such a partner.”
Portugal already pulled out of the project after growing protests from Palestinian and Portuguese associations. There is a growing campaign in Belgium and a broad coalition urging both the state agencies and the university to end their participation in LAW-TRAIN, noting that it legitimizes and sanctions the Israeli police’s use of torture in interrogation and involvement in occupation, colonialism and repression. A delegation of high-profile Belgian lawyers and human rights experts recently returned from Palestine, where they studied the use of torture by the Israeli police.
Hundreds of Belgian academics and cultural workers have signed on to an open letter against LAW-TRAIN organized by BACBI, the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Earlier in the academic year, before the university’s annual convocation, four activists blocked the street to demand KU Leuven stop legitimizing torture through its participation in LAW-TRAIN.
TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition against LAW-TRAIN at http://stop-law-train.be
Major LAW-TRAIN resources include:
- Belgian Coalition against LAW TRAIN
- BACBI archive of LAW TRAIN resources
- BACBI dossier, “The LAW-TRAIN Project: Why a Partnership with the Israeli Police is Indefensible”
- Stop the Wall Campaign, LAW-TRAIN: European License for Israeli Torture
- Stop the Wall Campaign, ECCP, Belgian Coalition Against LAW-TRAIN, “The LAW TRAIN Project: Concerns go Unaddressed“