At least 41 parliamentarians under security due to threats
At least 41 parliamentarians are under security due to online or physical threats. That is more than a quarter of the 150 members of the Tweede Kamer, Zembla reported based on research done after Sigrid Kaag and several other politicians announced they would be leaving politics at least partly due to the threats they face.
Zembla searched the Land Registry for data on the homeownership of parliamentarians. 27 times, it got the reply that the information was protected. That happens based on an article in the Land Registry Act when the authorities ask the Land Registry to protect the data due to security risks for the politicians involved. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) and counter-terrorism coordinator NCTV confirmed this to Zembla, saying that they ask to screen off the data when there are concrete indications that parliamentarians are at risk.
Special security measures have also been taken for all 21 chairpersons of the various parties in the Tweed Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament. For example, the party chairs received a special emergency button at home, an alarm system, or an anti-burglary door. The 27 MPs whose data is protected at the Land Registry include seven party chairs.
That brings the total number of parliamentarians with security measures around them to at least 41. “This is a shockingly high number of MPs,” Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz told Zembla, pointing out that many journalists, lawyers, judges, and prosecutors are also under protection. “That is a direct attack on our democracy, on our rule of law, and on all of us.”
Threats have a significant impact on the people affected, prosecutor Frank van Kins told Zembla. “Words have an impact. And with politicians, it is important that they should be able to do their work in complete freedom. Without them having to look over their shoulder every time and think: Is it my turn? Or will it be my family members?”
Minister Yesilgöz would like to do something about the anonymity of social media. “I think it’s incredibly cowardly that someone would create an anonymous account and then say all kinds of things about someone else that you apparently wouldn’t dare do under your own name.” She realizes that the Netherlands won’t be able to do anything about this alone, but she advocates for working on less anonymity online within the European Union.