New police interrogation rule angers defense attorneys

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Defense attorneys in Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe are boycotting interrogation rooms on Tuesday to protest the new interrogation rules, which took effect today. The new rules state that they are allowed to be in the room when their client is being interrogated, but they are not allowed to say anything. And if they do, they may be kicked out.

According to lawyer Willem Bierens of Bierens van Boven lawyers in Assen, being in the interrogation room under the new rules is pointless, "because we can't do anything anyway", he said to broadcaster NOS. "As one of the last countries we finally got the possibility to be present in the interrogation room, and we are very happy with it because then we can at least that the interrogation is happening correctly", the lawyer said. "But now the Ministry decided that we are to keep our mouths shut. In actual fact that means that we are in the back of the interrogation room, with folded knees and folded hands and not allowed to do anything further."

The defense attorneys are also annoyed about the low compensation they receive for this service. They are paid a standard amount of 158.41 euros. That is equivalent to 1.5 hours work, and it stays the same regardless of how long the questioning takes or how many times the police question the suspect. Only in very extreme and exceptional cases the amount may be doubled. According to the public defenders, the interrogations almost take longer than 1.5 hours and in big cases several interrogations of 4 hours plus are not unheard of.