The body of Daniel C., the nine-year-old boy found murdered at a centre for asylum-seekers at Broechem, part of Ranst in Antwerp province, has been repatriated to his native land of Lebanon, the Antwerp prosecutor’s office has announced.
Daniel was living in the centre with his mother, both of them Palestinian refugees from Lebanon. Five men have been arrested and charged with his murder and with extortion. They are thought to have kidnapped the child and demanded payment from his family, apparently in connection with an affair of human trafficking.
Before the boy’s remains were transported, a brief and private ceremony was held in his memory in a mosque in Anderlecht. His mother is expected to travel with her son on the flight to Lebanon. She has already said in a statement she no longer wishes to remain in Belgium. “I came to Europe for him,” she said. “Now he is no longer there, I have no wish to stay.” Daniel’s father, who lives in Belgium, has given his approval for the boy to be returned to Lebanon for burial.
During the brief funeral ceremony in the mosque, Daniel’s mother was accompanied by her brother and a cousin.
The five men charged with Daniel’s murder, three of whom are also residents of the centre, deny any involvement. They are due to appear in court in the coming week to have their detention confirmed.