Ter Apel baby not killed in a crime; Cause of death still unclear
There are no indications that a baby who died at the asylum registration center in Ter Apel last month died as a result of a criminal offense, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Friday. The cause of the baby’s death on August 24 is not yet clear.
The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) investigated how the baby died and found nothing to indicate that a crime was committed, the OM said. Investigators also spoke to witnesses.
The NFI investigation has not yet determined the cause of the baby’s death. NFI neuropathologists performed standard neuropathological examinations, but the results will only be available in six to nine months. The results could indicate that a crime had been committed, but the OM considers it unlikely.
The OM will not launch a criminal investigation and released the child’s body to their parents. “The OM has chosen to announce this preliminary, but highly probable judgment now due to the great social unrest surrounding this tragic event in the application center in Ter Apel.”
The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate and Justice and Security Inspectorate are further investigating other aspects that may have contributed to the baby’s death.
The situation at the asylum registration center in Ter Apel has been deteriorating for months, reaching a new low last week. In addition to the death of the 3-month-old baby, some 700 people had to sleep outside for multiple nights, two asylum seekers were rushed to the hospital for medical emergencies, and Doctors without Borders intervened in the Netherlands for the first time in history.
The government announced a plan to tackle the crisis in asylum reception on Friday, including creating more flexible housing and limiting the number of asylum seekers who can come to the Netherlands, for example, by restricting family reunification.