Terrorism suspect criticises Dutch government

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The Spanish government Friday announced it would continue efforts to extradite Hassan Bakir from the Netherlands. The 44-year-old Moroccan has been sought since 1985 for alleged activities with Islamic terrorists in the Chabiba Islamiyya organisation. 

Having lived in the Netherlands since 2005, and having receiving political asylum in 2007, Mr Bakir spoke to Radio Netherlands Worldwide about his disappointment at the lack of support he is getting from the Dutch authorities.

“The Dutch embassy has appointed me a lawyer and the Spanish authorities have reported that I have political asylum in the Netherlands, but the government should exert more pressure,” Mr Bakir said. “I have political asylum in a European country! I guess they do not care because of criticism of me in the Netherlands.”

Islamic terrorist In Dutch and Spanish media, Mr Bakir is portrayed as an Islamic terrorist who helped murder political opponents, allegations he flatly denies. In 1985, a Moroccan court convicted Mr Bakir in absentia and sentenced him to death. This July he was arrested in Spain while visiting family.

“My conviction was purely political and had nothing to do with terrorism. The Chabiba Islamiyya is not a movement that seeks an Islamic state through violence, as the Dutch media report,” said Mr Bakir. “If I am really so dangerous, why didn’t the Moroccan government ask for my extradition from the Netherlands?”  

Dutch responsibility Mr Bakir lives in Gouda and teaches at the Islamic University in Rotterdam. His arrest in Spain has led to controversy in the Netherlands. Minister for Immigration Gerd Leers has said that under the current circumstances, there is no basis for Mr Bakir’s residence permit to be withdrawn. 

According to Amnesty International’s Eric Goldstein, the Dutch government should increase its efforts on behalf of Mr Bakir. “The Dutch government has granted him asylum. The Netherlands has a duty to ensure that his rights are safeguarded.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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