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Amnesty International Report 2006 - Netherlands

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 23 May 2006
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Netherlands, 23 May 2006, available at: [accessed 18 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

There were concerns about the treatment of asylum-seekers and migrants and about the extension of counter-terrorism legislation.

]Migration issues

On 26 January, the Royal Dutch Constabulary (RDC) failed to intervene in the expulsion from the USA of a Syrian man, Abd-al Rahman al Musa, so that he could file an asylum request. Subsequently, Abd-al Rahman al Musa was detained upon his arrival in Syria. In the wake of this case, the RDC announced that it would amend its policy and respond to non-governmental organizations and lawyers intervening to prevent refoulement of asylum-seekers in future.

On 27 October, there was a fire in the temporary detention centre at Schiphol Airport in which 11 irregular migrants (people who did not have legal permission to remain in the country) perished. Approximately 350 people were being held in the complex when the fire broke out. The centre, which held both prisoners and irregular migrants, had caught fire on two previous occasions, the first being shortly before it was opened in 2003 and the second in 2004. According to some reports, previous recommendations by fire prevention officials had not been implemented. Survivors said that there was a delayed reaction by centre staff to cries for help from the detainees. On 27 October, the Safety Investigation Council launched an investigation into the fire. While the nature and extent of the investigation were not made public, the Safety Investigation Council indicated the investigation should be concluded within a year. The National Agency for Correctional Institutions was charged with collating all relevant materials for use by the Safety Investigation Council. Additionally, the Forensic Science Service was also conducting its own investigation on behalf of the Public Prosecution Service.


In January, the government announced the introduction of new counter-terrorism measures, including the criminalization of "incitement to terrorism". The measures were announced shortly after the murder in November 2004 of film maker Theo van Gogh by Mohammed B., a member of the Hofstad Network, which was considered a "terrorist group" by the Dutch government.

The draft proposal on counter-terrorism measures would also criminalize glorifying, condoning, trivializing and denying other serious crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The draft legislation stated that in order to be found guilty, a person must have known or reasonably expected that their utterance(s) could seriously disturb public order. Although the draft bill was circulated to advisory bodies in July, it had not been submitted to parliament by the end of the year.

A separate draft bill, introduced in parliament in June, included measures raising the maximum period of pre-trial detention for terrorist offences.

In December, the Hague Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the District Court and permitted the extradition to the USA of Mohammed A., a Dutch national of Egyptian origin accused of crimes involving fraudulent phone cards which may have been used to facilitate contact between members of al-Qa'ida. His lawyers argued against extradition, fearing he would be treated as an enemy combatant if he were extradited to the USA. The Court of Appeal allowed the extradition after receiving the assurance of the USA that he would be prosecuted "before a Federal Court in accordance with the full panoply of rights and protections that would otherwise be provided to a defendant facing similar charges". The USA further guaranteed Mohammed A. would not face prosecution by a military commission, be criminally prosecuted in any tribunal or court other than a US Federal Court, and that he would not be treated or designated as an enemy combatant.

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