Donner plays royal card to keep centre open

6th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 December 2005, AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner resorted to a royal decree on Wednesday to get around a local authority's demand that the Schiphol detention centre should be closed immediately.

7 December 2005

AMSTERDAM — Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner resorted to a royal decree on Wednesday to get around a local authority's demand that the Schiphol detention centre should be closed immediately.

Donner fell back on the unusual remedy after mediation with Haarlemmermeer Council - which controls the operations licence for the detention centre - failed.

The Crown issued a rare decree on Donner's instance that suspending the closure order to 24 April next year was in the general interest.

The local council decided on Tuesday to withdraw the licence for the facility it considers is still unsafe. Eleven people awaiting deportation died in a fire at the centre in late October.

Airline passengers suspected of smuggling drugs internally are still be held in undamaged wings of the complex. Donner rejected the council's claims that these wings do not meet safety standards.

The Justice Minister portrayed the dispute as an attempt by the council to interfere with the decisions of the national government. He said there was no alternative but to place alleged drug smugglers arrested at Schiphol Airport in the centre.

"I am the minister responsible for maintaining law and order... The general good comes before local interest," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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