Dutch Court of Appeal forbids eviction of squatters
The Dutch Court of Appeal has forbidden the eviction of squatters from 18 buildings in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leeuwarden.
The court ruled that squatters do not have any opportunity to contest the eviction in court beforehand. As this means police officers decide whether or not a house has been unlawfully entered rather than a judge, the new law conflicts with European Treaty on Human Rights.
The ban on squatting came into force on 1 October. Squatters face a prison term of up to a year or a heavy fine. If they use violence to resist arrest or eviction they could even go to prison for two years.
Initially local councils did not appear keen to use precious resources to enforce the squatting ban. However, Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said police would clear groups of buildings when possible, but the number of evictions that take place would depend on police capacity.
Some of the squats in question were due to be cleared on Tuesday.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide