Consul keeps job in child porn scandal

26th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch consulate-general in Rio de Janeiro is to stay in the post despite issuing emergency passports to two Dutch nationals who used them to flee Brazil to avoid jail for trading in child pornography.

26 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch consulate-general in Rio de Janeiro is to stay in the post despite issuing emergency passports to two Dutch nationals who used them to flee Brazil to avoid jail for trading in child pornography.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said on Tuesday that the Brazilian authorities have not demanded the expulsion of consulate-general R Brouwer. Bot was also in favour of Brouwer staying in the post, news agency ANP reported.

The Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of moves by Brazilian authorities to prosecute the consulate-general.

The statement came after Radio 1 reported that Brazilian authorities were investigating whether Brouwer could be brought to trial in relation to the escape of the two men.

It is not certain the Dutch consulate-general can be prosecuted because under Dutch he is afforded diplomatic immunity. The Brazilian public prosecutor believes the incident is so serious though that diplomatic immunity will no longer apply according to Brazilian law.

It was revealed in September that the Dutch consulate in Rio de Janeiro had issued emergency passports to two Dutch men who had been convicted on child pornography charges. They used the passports to flee Brazil and they are now living freely in the Netherlands.

They were arrested in Brazil in September 2002 and a Brazilian court imposed an 11-year sentence on one of the men and eight years on the other.

They were convicted of masterminding a plan to have 8,850 pictures taken of naked girls aged 12 and older, but their defence lawyer says his clients are innocent.

The men spent 11 months in remand detention, but after having their passports confiscated, they were released pending the appeal. They were then issued with emergency passports in February 2004 and they fled to the Netherlands.

The consulate had previously given a commitment at the request of the Brazilian authorities that the two men would not be allowed to leave the country. Brazil took the statement as a guarantee.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry admits the emergency passports should never have been issued and that the consulate should never have given the commitment the men would not leave Brazil.

Minister Bot has since sent an "explicit instruction" to all Dutch embassies and consulates that travel documents can be refused if it is suspected that the applicant will elude prosecution or arrest. Guarantees that a Dutch person will remain in a second country during a legal process cannot be given either, Bot said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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