From ABC News Australia thanks to Dumbledore's Army
Three prisoners, among them one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals, have escaped aboard a hijacked helicopter in an audacious jailbreak in broad daylight. The three escapees - bank robber Ashraf Sekkaki, Mohammed Johry and Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul - are all repeat offenders, prosecutors in Bruges told Belga.
Sekkaki, 26, has been described as one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals.
Two accomplices rented a helicopter, took the pilot hostage and forced him to land in the courtyard of the jail, located in the northern city of Bruges, a Justice Ministry spokesperson told Belga news agency.
When the helicopter took off with the three convicts, one of the accomplices stayed behind, possibly because of limited space aboard the helicopter, the spokesperson said.
"This accomplice is in any case guilty of hostage taking," the spokesperson added.
The escaped convicts and the accomplice were dropped off near a major road and the helicopter was abandoned at Aalter, on the outskirts of Bruges.
The convicts then seized a vehicle from a nearby petrol pump, later switching cars and taking a female driver hostage before dropping her off at Melle in Flanders.
Very similar to this plan.
I am always faintly surprised that prison security does not include some sort of way of trying to dissuade helicopter escapes. I would have thought wires strung high across a potential landing ground (the exercise area?) would work, or even (more unlikely but very visible) some form of barrage balloon idea.
A heat seeking missile wouldn't go amiss either.
And these chaps who fled... I assume they are dangerous because they are murderous (could it be a religious thing? Surely not). Would it be wise to give such people - who are unlikely to repent and reform, sorry to say - very controlled areas to exercise and complex areas where they are kept.
If they are not going to be able to rehabilitate because of their 'beliefs' then all you can do is keep them out of the way for as long as possible. We do have this problem with all the many muslim terrorist prisoners in the UK who aren't going to stop thinking terrorism and death when they are released. Indeed, they may have even less to lose in future; older, no wiser and just as hell-bent on destruction.
But at least if we can keep them out of the way for their full term of imprisonment, some innocents will live longer.