Greater urgency in search of safe housing for MPs
21 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Justice Ministry is searching more intensively for safe and permanent housing for threatened MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders following criticism last week of the living circumstances the two politicians were being forced to endure.
21 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Justice Ministry is searching more intensively for safe and permanent housing for threatened MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders following criticism last week of the living circumstances the two politicians were being forced to endure.
Hirsi Ali told newspaper Trouw on Monday that she was pleased the ministry was now busy looking for better alternatives. She said two public servants were appointed over the weekend to find a house for herself and a suitable residence for Wilders.
The Liberal VVD had revealed on Friday that she was being housed at a high-security naval base in Amsterdam and Wilders was being housed at the Zeist jail. Both MPs are being threatened by suspected terrorists.
Her decision to reveal the location of the secret "safe houses" was applauded by Wilders, who said he was 300 percent in agreement with her criticisms. Both politicians claim they have tried in vain to persuade the Justice Ministry to find secure, private housing for them.
But despite the change in the ministry's mood over the weekend, Hirsi Ali also said that it is not yet certain that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner will make the crucial decision of not "hiding away" threatened politicians.
"If you put Wilders in a jail cell, what do you think the message is for the terrorists who are threatening him? Conversely, when you arrange a normal house for him: you are saying that threatened MPs may continue unobstructed, without any censoring."
Hirsi Ali said she does not want to remain an MP if she cannot have her own house and she admitted she has already given up most of her wishes when it comes to a home. She preferably wants a pre-World War II house in Amsterdam with an open fireplace, but is now content with a house with a garden or terrace.
"I don't want an extra column of guards to be drummed up every time that Ms Hirsi Ali wants to sit in the sun," she said.
The outspoken MP went into hiding amid death threats after the November murder of Theo van Gogh last year. Right-wing independent Wilders also went into hiding last year after he too was threatened for his sharp criticism of the Islamic faith.
The Dutch State is now prepared to front the costs of the safe houses for Hirsi Ali and Wilders. Despite the fact the Justice Ministry was tight-lipped over promises given to Hirsi Ali, it said every effort was being made to resolve the current situation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + Ayaan Hirsi Ali + Geert Wilders