Justice sec.'s plan to keep troublesome asylum seekers inside illegal: legal experts

Asylum seekers
Asylum seekers

Earlier this month State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice suggested that mayors keep problem causing asylum seekers under a form of house arrest during the holidays. But forcing asylum seekers to stay inside goes against Dutch law, legal experts from the Center for Public Order and Safety said to broadcaster BNR.

"The judge will classify this as deprivation of liberty, but for this a mayor has no jurisdiction. The mayor may impose restraints but only the courts can decide on deprivation of liberty", Jan Brouwer, professor and director of the Center said to the broadcaster. According to him, it is part of Dutch law that the government is bound by its own laws. "In states that do not do this, we have always had a lot of criticism."

Mayor Jos Heijmmans of Weert impose this sort of house arrest on a group of 20 North African asylum seekers for the holiday period. Between December 21st and January 2nd, these asylum seekers are not allowed off the grounds of the asylum center. They must report to the security guards three times per day and are ony allowed out between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to run errands. The mayor implemented this emergency decree after incidents involving pickpocketing, theft, fights and vandalism, according to BNR.

The mayor saw no other way to handle the situation, he said to the broadcaster. "If it was like this office professor says, I would, of course, not have issued the emergency decree. But the mayor is expected to act, and one of the tools to do so is the emergency decree. The Public Prosecutor and all kinds of other institutions shine in talking much and doing little, but as mayor I am in charge of public order and safety."