Press photographer arrested for refusing to give camera to police

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention center. Photo: Politie

Press photographer Chris Keulen was arrested in Limburg on Sunday for refusing to hand over his camera and photos to the police, ANP reports. This happened while he was reporting on noise problems caused by NATO aircraft.

Keulen took photos of a local activist and an American soldier in civilian clothing coming to blows during an argument near the NATO base Geilenkirchen. After the fight, Keulen went to the police station to give a witness statement. He was asked to hand over his photos, but he refused, appealing to press freedom.

The atmosphere immediately became "intimidating and unpleasant', according to Keulen. He was surrounded by eight police officers and officers from the Koninklijke Marechaussee - a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military. When he still refused to hand over his photos - "I'm not an extension of the police" - his camera was taken from him, he was arrested and he spent two hours in a jail cell, according to the news wire.

NRC asked the Public Prosecutor to look into whether the police worked within the rules in this case. According to the newspaper, the rules state that a magistrate must give permission before a journalistic material is seized. The magistrate must decide whether public interest outweighs freedom of the press per individual case. 

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