MPs call for action on terror

19th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

19 November 2003 AMSTERDAM — Several MPs have demanded Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner take immediate action making it possible for the public prosecution to use information from the Dutch secret service AIVD to convict terrorist suspects.A court in Rotterdam acquitted four terrorist suspects in December 2002 and another 12 were acquitted in June 2003 after the AIVD refused to reveal classified information in court. The prosecution has lodged an appeal against both rulings.And in a parliamentary debate f

19 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — Several MPs have demanded Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner take immediate action making it possible for the public prosecution to use information from the Dutch secret service AIVD to convict terrorist suspects.

A court in Rotterdam acquitted four terrorist suspects in December 2002 and another 12 were acquitted in June 2003 after the AIVD refused to reveal classified information in court. The prosecution has lodged an appeal against both rulings.

And in a parliamentary debate focused on the Dutch fight against terrorism, MPs from the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and populist LPF have demanded that Minister Donner adjusts legislation now to allow the use of AIVD information, rather than wait for the rulings in the two appeals.

But Donner gave no promises on Tuesday, saying the matter is currently before the courts. But the CDA minister hinted that he would quickly propose a legislative change should if the Appeals Court of The Hague acquit the four terrorist suspects in February 2004, newspaper Trouw reported. 

The minister had already said last year that present legislation — which forces the prosecution to conduct its own inquiry and prevents it from arresting suspects based only on AIVD information — hindered the fight against terrorism and held open the possibility of legislative change. But he also said he wished to await the outcome of the appeal.

But VVD MP Geert Wilders no longer wants to wait and he has received backing from the CDA and LPF.

Christian Democrat MP and former public prosecutor Wim van Fessem said he was not confident about the success of the higher appeal, while LPF MP Joost Eerdmans said the Netherlands threatened to become a refuge for terrorists, newspaper Trouw reported.

The AIVD is currently investigating Islamic extremism in the Netherlands and has previously estimated that more than 100 radical Muslims are active in the country, while Eindhoven has been singled out as a hotbed of Islamic extremists. One of the city's mosques was allegedly linked to the Hamburg terrorist cell involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US in 2001.

Meanwhile, Donner admitted the Justice Ministry was still studying the recent acquittals, but the minister also said he could not confirm whether the ministry was preparing new legislation because it would be akin to admitting that he thought the State would lose its appeal and had thus incorrectly appealed the initial trial ruling.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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