Dutch MPs demand extradition of child abusers
The Dutch Labour party is demanding an emergency parliamentary debate on what has become known as the Brazilian child pornography case. Labour MP Khadija Arib wants Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin to explain to the house why two Dutch men cannot be extradited to Brazil to serve their sentences. By Michael Blass.
The two were sentenced to 17 and 21 years' imprisonment by a Brazilian court for child pornography offences, including the abuse of 24 girls. They managed to leave Brazil using emergency Dutch passports, which they obtained from the Dutch consulate in Rio de Janeiro while awaiting the result of their appeal. In the Netherlands one of the men was subsequently sentenced to 240 hours community service in connection with the case. No charges at all were brought against the other man. An appeal against this decision by the public prosecutor's office is currently in progress.
According to The Hague the men cannot now be sent back to serve their prison sentences because the Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Brazil. But lawyers from the Dutch children's rights organization Terre des Hommes argue that extradition is possible under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lucien Stöpler of Terre des Hommes commented that the case revealed a "climate of complacency for the disgusting practices of Dutch people abroad," adding "the Netherlands appears to be a free state for child pornography." The organization supports the Brazilian federal court's attempts to have the men extradited. However, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said he sees no reason to bring a case against the Netherlands for breaching the United Nations convention.
The convicted men, both former naval officers, were granted the emergency passports by former Foreign Minister Ben Bot. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has pointed out that Mr Bot has already admitted he was wrong to allow the men to be issued with passports.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]