MPs back anti-terror plans, trial period proposed
9 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs backed the Cabinet's anti-terror plans on Wednesday despite criticism from government coalition party Democrat D66 and reticence from main opposition party Labour PvdA.
9 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — A majority of MPs backed the Cabinet's anti-terror plans on Wednesday despite criticism from government coalition party Democrat D66 and reticence from main opposition party Labour PvdA.
Coalition parties Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD, plus the populist LPF, said the government's tough measures were necessary. The D66 also voted in favour of most of the measures, but raised objections to some of the more far-reaching proposals.
CDA leader Maxime Verhagen and VVD chief Jozias van Aartsen disagreed on fears that the anti-terror measures were a threat to the Dutch constitutional state.
Verhagen said a constitutional state should know its limits, protecting people but also depriving rights from those who abuse their liberties.
But Van Aartsen said: "The constitutional state is not only for suspects, but also for people who simply want to go to their work safely". He added that democracy was threatened by a small minority and the public does not need to fear that police will now start kicking their doors in.
Verhagen demanded an accelerated exchange of information from the security service AIVD to other organisations involved in the fight against terror, newspaper De Volkskrant reported. He also said action should be taken more quickly to disband radical Islamic foundations.
D66 leader Boris Dittrich reaffirmed his opposition to the cabinet's plans forcing terror suspects to regularly report to police. He said the measure was ineffective and naive.
The D66 leader said the measure was only focused on people that Dutch authorities despise. He said forcing them to report to police will not change that and might also be counterproductive, news service NOS reported.
He rejected the image that the D66 was opposing the cabinet's plans, saying that the party backed 91 of the 94 proposals. But he also urged for the measures to be introduced on a temporary basis and be re-assessed in five years. If the legislation was no longer necessary, the law should be scrapped, he said.
Meanwhile, PvdA leader Wouter Bos said his party would not assess the plans until the precise details are known. Nevertheless, he said the cabinet was not doing enough to spell out who has final responsibility over the fight against terror.
He said Interior Minister Johan Remkes is the boss of the police, intelligence services, mayors and emergency services, but Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner is responsible for the anti-terror campaign. Bos said the continued investment into the fight against terror will achieve nothing if the administrative mess is not cleared up.
Green-left GroenLinks doubted whether the obligation for suspects to report to police would be effective. Leader Femke Halsema also doubted the necessity of much of the cabinet's plans. Independent right-wing MP Geert Wilders said the plans were not tough enough.
Under the cabinet's plans, terror suspects could face a street ban, preventing them from entering the vicinity of airports, the Dutch Parliament or going near people who had been threatened. They could also be banned from doing certain jobs, such as giving lessons at schools or sermons at mosques.
The government is also introducing permanent security risk zones where members of the public can be randomly searched at any point in time. This measure will be introduced at airports and train stations.
Some EUR 414 million is to be invested over the next four years to combat terrorism and extremism and to recruit almost 800 extra security and justice officers. A new anti-terror unit responsible for policy, intelligence analysis and security measures has been operational since the start of this year.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news