Justice Ministry hiding serious crimes committed by asylum seekers: report

The Ministry of Justice and Security hid the number of serious crimes committed by asylum seekers in the Netherlands by including crimes like sexual offenses, aggravated assaults, and murder and manslaughter or attempts thereto under the heading of "other" in figures released to parliament, the Telegraaf reports.

Earlier this week State Secretary Mark Harbers released police figures on crimes committed by asylum seekers last year, but the above mentioned serious crimes were not mentioned in the report. This is because these crimes were included in the "other" category, the Telegraaf writes after checking the figures with police. According to the newspaper, it concerns 79 sexual offenses, 51 aggravated assaults, and 31 suspicions of murder and manslaughter or attempts thereto. 

When asked why these crimes were not explicitly mentioned in the report, Harbers' department said hat this involved "not proven cases" and they were trying to make sure the overview is not inexhaustibly long, according to newspaper AD. The final overview consisted of one column on half an A4 in the over 50 pages long report, the newspaper writes.

The report showed that the police responded a total of 4,600 times last year to reports of crimes committed by asylum seekers. This mainly involved crimes like shoplifting or pickpocketing, but also assault, threats and vandalism. Of these cases, 2,610 ended up with the Public Prosecutor. It concerns a total of 1,710 suspects, so many of them were suspected of more than one offense. 

The Telegraaf's revelation led to angry reactions from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg asked Harbers for clarification, pointing out that the Ministry was previously under fire about a report on crimes around a asylum centers, AD reports. "Then too we were fooled by studies that would show it was not all that bad. That analysis was also incorrect because many had been left out of consideration. This requires clarification. I submitted a debate request because we can only make policy based on complete and honest figures."

SP parliamentarian Jasper van Dijk called it "painful" that the Ministry did not immediately release all the figures. "I will call on Harbers about that.The Kamer must have all the information for the correct approach to criminal asylum seekers. This is necessary to maintain support for the reception of refugees."

PVV MP Sietse Fritsma told AD that "facts are being brushed away". "This cabinet wants to make people believe that the consequences of the migration are not so bad. That is pure deception. The inability to tackle perpetrators is thus disguised."