Veterans Motorcycle Club not a criminal club.: Ombudsman

The Veterans Motorcycle Club, established by a group of former soldiers, is unjustly listed as a criminal club, the National Ombudsman said in a new report. With this the group of veterans are one step closer to being allowed to ride during the veteran's day parade again, AD reports.

The Ministry of Justice and Security added Veterans MC to a blacklist of criminal clubs in 2012, partly because the club was once part of the Raad van Act - a council for criminal motorcycle clubs. Veterans MC has been fighting to get off this blacklist for five years. They left the Raad van Acht years ago, expelled criminal members and the current members have no criminal records, according to the club. Some of their members are still working for Defense. The club eventually asked the National Ombudsman to look into their case.

According to National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen, the Ministry was right to blacklist Veterans MC due to its membership to the Raad van Acht. But the justification to keep the club blacklisted is unsound. It is uncertain whether any of the individual members committed criminal offenses. And the club is not even mentioned in the Ministry of Justice and Security's latest publication on criminal motorcycle clubs.

When the club asked to be removed from the blacklist, the Ministry used outdated data to refuse this request, the Ombudsman concludes. The minister must now reassess the club with the most recent data.

Lawyer Michael Ruperti, who represents Veterans MC, called the Ombudsman's report a "moral victory" for the club members. "Five years of protesting has finally led to a ruling that the judiciary is wrong", he said to AD. "My clients believe that they will finally be able to take part in the show during veteran's day and that the club houses will no longer be closed."