European court ruling means 111 psychiatric prisoners may be released

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Some 111 people currently held in secure psychiatric clinics may have to be released when their four-year detention is up because of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, according to justice ministry research.

Officials re-examined 2,400 cases after the court said people can only be detained in psychiatric prison (tbs) longer than four years if convicted of violent offences.

This means people detained for arson, child pornography possession or blackmail, for example, will have to be released.

'We are going to do all we can to prevent this,' justice minister Fred Teeven told reporters. 'But I cannot rule out some people being freed. We will look into whether these people present a danger and if so take extra measures with regard to the victims.'

Seven of the 111 cases have so far come up for review, and of them, one person has been released.

One way of ensuring people considered a danger stay behind bars is for judges to make the violent aspects of crimes more explicit, Teeven said.


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