Dutch appeal court forbids eviction of squatters
A Dutch appeal court has forbidden the eviction of squatters from 18 properties in Amsterdam, The Hague and Leeuwarden.
The court ruled that under the Netherlands'new anti-squatting legislation squatters do not have any opportunity to contest their eviction in court before it takes place. As this means police officers rather than the courts decide whether or not a property has been unlawfully entered and occupied, the new law conflicts with European Treaty on Human Rights.
The ban on squatting came into force on 1 October this year. Convicted squatters now face a prison term of up to one 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