Europe again critical of Dutch lifetime prison sentences

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The European Court of Human Rights again criticized the Netherlands for sentencing prisoners to life in prison. According to the court, a life sentence is inhumane and no one deserves to be treated as "forgotten human waste", no matter the sentence, AD reports.

This ruling was made in a case brought by family members of murderer James Murray. He was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 6-year-old Darly Lai on Curacao on May 23rd, 1979. He served his life sentence in the Correction Institute Aruba and asked to be pardoned several times, but all his requests were rejected. He was finally pardoned when he was terminally ill and died on November 26th, 2014, from the complications of cancer.

According to the Court, Murray's life sentence proved an inhumane punishment, partly due to a lack of psychological counseling. The pardon-system also did not comply to the rules in this case - revenge and repression played a role in the evaluation of all his pardon requests.

This is not the first time a European Court is criticizing the Netherlands for life sentences. Europe considers the punishment "hopeless" because there is no option for revision. For a long time the Netherlands insisted that the pardon-system is sufficient, but the government is now considering capping the life-sentence to 25 years, followed by a revision.

Between 1970 and 250 the Netherlands sentenced 36 people to life in prison, according to AD.