MPs want to increase maximum punishment for manslaughter to 25 years
A narrow majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will vote for a Cabinet proposal to increase the maximum prison sentence for manslaughter from 15 to 25 years. The idea behind Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius's proposal is to close the gap between the maximum penalties for manslaughter and murder, which can get up to 30 years in prison, NOS reports.
Politicians long believed that the penalties for these serious crimes need to be more balanced. Still, there is some discussion about exactly how long the maximum sentence for manslaughter should be. Opposition parties GroenLinks and Volt submitted a proposal with coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie to increase the maximum penalty to 20 years. That proposal will also be voted on today.
D66 parliamentarian Joost Sneller told NOS that the sentence does not need to be higher because the current maximum is rarely used. "That shows how rarely this is an issue," he said. He does not know what his faction will do if the GroenLinks proposal does not pass. The D66 may end up voting against the Justice Minister's proposal.
But even without the support of D66 and ChristenUnie, a maximum sentence of 25 years for manslaughter can likely count on majority support. The VVD, CDA, PVV, JA21, SGP, Groep Van Haga, BBB, and Groep Den Haan told NOS that they'd support the amendment. That is 76 of the 150 seats, the smallest possible majority.
One of the reasons behind this amendment is the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Humeyra in December 2018. Her ex and stalker Bekir E. gunned her down at her Rotterdam school. Because the prosecution could not prove premeditation, he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in prison with institutionalized psychiatric treatment. Many in the Netherlands found the sentence unacceptably short. The judge also asked politicians to do something about the big gap between the punishments for manslaughter and murder.