Former spy chief slams Dutch terror laws

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The former head of the Dutch secret services has criticised Dutch anti-terror legislation introduced in response to the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, saying several have proved ineffectual while others have hardly been used.

One example, according to former AIVD head Sybrand van Hulst, are the additional powers police have been given to intervene earlier in cases of certain terrorist threats.

“As a result, there is a certain overlap between the police and the domain of the security services. If you look back to see how successful the police have been in that area, I think we have to conclude that the results have been extremely meagre.”

Mr Van Hulst is therefore calling for an evaluation of current police powers to decide whether some of them are still warranted. “After ten years a society should take a critical look at the existing powers”, says Van Hulst.

The Labour Party is in favour of such a review and intends to call for a debate on the matter in parliament. “Measures were rightly put in place to protect us against terrorism, but such measures do have a price, in that they affect people’s privacy. And the state should not needlessly meddle in people’s lives”, says Labour MP Jeroen Recourt.

One of the laws that Labour says needs scaling back is the Terrorist Crimes Law, which allows courts to keep suspects on remand longer than usually. Labour also wants a review of the Protected Witness Law, which makes it harder for defendants to verify the evidence used in their conviction.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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