Diabetes patient called junkie, manhandled in HEMA

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Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten will tomorrow face questions from PvDA Second Chamber member Ahmed Marcouch, about the unforgiving way police in The Hague treated 17-year-old diabetes patient Yosra Aajir.

Yosra was in a HEMA branch in The Hague with a friend last Friday, when she had a light seizure and docked into a fitting room for a quick insulin injection. Her pants were down to her knees when two store security men barged in, accusing her of being a junkie pushing drugs. Startled by the embarrassing intrusion, she discharged some urine; vandalism was added to the accusation and she was roughed up. She says her head was banged against a wall; a doctor later confirmed the bruises on her upper-arms came from the way the guards manhandled her. She was not allowed to see her mother who had meanwhile rushed to the department store. Instead, she was handed to police. At the station she tried to explain and showed her medications to prove that she was not a junkie, but the officers didn’t believe it. “This is just a trick to get out of jail faster. A lot of you allochtonen (immigrants) do this,” a policeman apparently sneered at her. Neither did they believe her friend or her mother. A spokesperson for HEMA has called it a “unfortunate incident”. He said there are regular incidents in the store and the first reaction by the security team is “understandable”. The spokesman said the arrest regarded Yosra’s peeing in the fitting room. “Based on the information they received, it looked intentional,” he said. He said the girl was kept in custody longer because she demanded a lawyer. “But we will investigate this further. We have already handed the security camera footage to the police,” he said. Police however say they have already dismissed the case. Yosra says all she wants at this point is an apology from the store for the rough treatment that befell her. If by chance a fine for vandalism would follow –because she did discharge urine in the fitting room-, she says she will definitely not pay that. The incident was condemned by the association of diabetes patients. “I can understand the confusion regarding the first ten minutes. But she told them she was a diabetes patient, she showed them her medicine and then her mother came to confirm her statement. Then I cannot understand that there was no consideration for the situation,” said association spokesperson Margreet Smilde. Police in The Hague have taken much flak in recent years for being harsh toward immigrants. This latest matter prompted PvDA Second Chamber member Ahmed Marcouch to fire questions at Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.