Ronald PLasterk. Source: Wikimedia/Roel Wijnants - Credit: Ronald Plasterk. Source: Wikimedia/Roel Wijnants
Friday, 19 December 2014 - 10:48
Dutch security service wiretapped terrorist defense attorneys
With additional reporting by Ingrid Grindstad. The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) often and for a long time listened in on conversations of lawyers and former lawyers of the firm Prakken d'Oliveira in Amsterdam. According to the firm, this is evident from Minister Ronald Plasterk's (Internal Affairs) reply to a complaint. Prakken d'Oliveira has terrorist suspects among their clients. According to Minister Plasterk's reply, part of the complaint is valid. In principle the interception of conversations between lawyers and defendants is prohibited. Both parties must be able to freely discuss matters with each other so that a proper defense is guaranteed. This applies even if the defendant is the subject of an investigation by the Security Service. However, special exceptions are made if it is believed that the defendant poses an immediate threat. The Supervisory Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD) and Plasterk now find that some of the intercepted information was recorded unjustly. The AIVD has acted "improperly" on this point, according to the CTIVD and the minister. "It involves communication that can not evidently be considered relevant to any investigation by the AIVD. This is contrary to the standards of proper conduct." The CTIVD and AIVD have established that intercepting segments of the recorded material may have been recorded unjustly, and are of no relevance to the investigation. Plasterk has admitted that, in reference to the irrelevant conversations that were bugged, the situation may have been improperly conducted. "We believe that the AIVD inadequately respects the rights of lawyers", says lawyer Michiel Pestman on behalf of Prakken d'Oliveira. "The current rules for the interception of lawyer conversations are seriously flawed. We therefore consider adapting the legislation necessary. Lawyers' conversations must only be tapped with the permission of a judge." Pestman is shocked by Minister Plasterk's information. "In a democratic state it is necessary that citizens can speak with their lawyers in confidence, even if they may be the subject of investigation by the AIVD." Pestman also expressed his disgust at the privacy violations perpetrated in these cases.