Statewatch article: RefNo# 1890
EU: Football fans taken off records
Statewatch bulletin, vol 6 no 4
Gwilym and Rhys Boore, the two Welsh football fans, who have been fighting for six years to clear their names and get themselves removed from police records have succeeded (see Statewatch vol 3 no 2, vol 4 no 5, vol 5 no 5). The Belgian authorities say they are not on their records and the UK's National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) said the same last year.

In a letter to their lawyer, Liberty's Philip Leach, the European Commission said in a letter that:

"the Belgian authorities indicate that... they are in a position to confirm that no data concerning the identities of the Boore brothers are listed on either national or Schengen computerised systems."

The brothers had ended up on a series of computer systems after they were taken off a train and had their identity checked in Arlon, on the Belgium-Luxembourg border, in November 1990. The Luxembourg police had then sent a report to the NCIS in the UK saying they had, with others, "caused disorder en route" - which was quite erroneous. On 6 November 1992 the NCIS had supplied the Belgian police with a list of 151 names of "suspected" Welsh football fans and when the Belgian police "checked" a train at Kortrijk station on 16 November the Boore brothers were picked out. Rhys Boore was held for 16 hours, strip-searched and deported in handcuffs.

A complaint to the Belgian Police Complaints Authority was rejected in October 1995 but it did confirm that their names had been removed from police records. The latest letter confirms that they have been removed from all Belgian and Schengen records. However it has also transpired that their names found their way onto the UK Foreign Office Consular Department's "database" and it is not known to who they may have passed the names.

On behalf of the Boore brothers Liberty has also made a complaint against the European Commission to the European Ombudsman on the grounds that the Commission wanted to close the case before satisfactory replies had been received from the UK and Belgian governments.

The brothers six year campaign involved lobbying the Home Office, Foreign Office, NCIS, South Wales police, the Data Protection Registrar, the UK embassy in Brussels, the Belgian and Luxembourg embassies in London, the Belgian police, the Belgian Ministries of Justice and Interior and the European Commission. "We spent our lives going round in circles", commented Gwilym Boore who added on Europol: "God help anyone whose name gets put on it by mistake."

Letter from the European Commission,9.7.96; Comments by the Commission concerning a request for information by the European Ombudsman, 21.5.96; Comments by Liberty concerning the Commission's reply to the European Ombudsman, 1.7.96.

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