Hirsi Ali 'put guards in danger'
22 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali placed not only herself and right-winger Geert Wilders, but also their bodyguards and other officials, in danger by revealing the location of her safe house, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said on Tuesday.
22 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali placed not only herself and right-winger Geert Wilders, but also their bodyguards and other officials, in danger by revealing the location of her safe house, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said on Tuesday.
The Christian Democrat CDA minister told MPs he severely regretted the fact that Hirsi Ali revealed last week the locations where she and Wilders were being kept, news service NOS reported.
He said there had been no need for Hirsi Alis revelation because he had been searching for months, in consultation with the MP, for a permanent residence for her. The Liberal VVD MP is currently staying in a heavily guarded navy base in Amsterdam.
Donner met with Hirsi Ali and Wilders on Monday night and he assured the MPs that the search for permanent safe houses for them both would continue unabated. Two public servants were appointed to the full-time task over the weekend.
Wilders is currently staying at Camp Zeist, a jail where drugs smugglers and illegal immigrants are detained. Donner denied that the MP was sleeping in a cell, but admitted the facilities there had been designed to cater for inmates.
The minister said Wilders had made an "explicit" choice to stay at Camp Zeist, one of the options he was presented with. Donner said he had not had any indication prior to last weekend that Wilders — who has backed Hirsi Ali's decision to go public about their living circumstances — wanted alternative arrangements.
But Wilders disputed Donner's claim, asserting that he had on several occasions requested a "normal secured house", only to have his request refused. Wilders said he was given the choice between two evils: Camp Zeist or a military barracks.
Hirsi Ali spoke to the media last week and was highly critical of the living circumstances imposed on Wilders and herself, claiming that her freedom was being restricted. She stated that threatened MPs should not be hidden away, but instead be housed in secure locations known to the public.
"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," she said.
But the outspoken MP has rejected on several occasions various residences proposed by the government because they did not meet her demands, Donner said. "It must be understood that personal wishes and security requirements are not always mutually compatible," he said.
Hirsi Ali had said on Monday she had always wanted a pre-World War II house in Amsterdam with an open fireplace. But now she only has the demand that she be given a terrace or garden. "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.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news