The upper house of the Dutch parliament has passed a bill that would strip jihadists of their Dutch citizenship, designating them “undesirable aliens”, and preventing them from returning to the Netherlands or any other Schengen country.
The Senate passed the law on Tuesday which would allow the Minister of Justice to revoke Dutch passports of militants fighting abroad with terror groups without the intervention of the courts, reports de Volkskrant.
The bill, put forward by Minister of Security and Justice Stef Blok, had been backed by the lower house, the House of Representatives, in May 2016 as part of a range of anti-terror measures against jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria.
The bill passed in the upper house with a narrow majority receiving support from Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Geert Wilders’ anti-mass migration Party for Freedom (PVV) amongst others. Centrist and left wing parties voted against the bill.
The measures only affects jihadists who are dual nationals in accordance with international conventions which prevent individuals becoming stateless. Members of terror groups such as Islamic State or al Qaeda who attempt to return from fighting will not be allowed back into the country or any other Schengen zone nation.
The withdrawal of nationality will then be subject to judicial review. If the person does not lodge an appeal within four weeks, the court is notified. If judges deem the decision legitimate, Dutch nationality is withdrawn.
Mr. Blok, a member of Rutte’s VVD, said, “We know that dozens of Dutch people, often with dual nationality, have joined Islamic State. We prefer them not to come back here.”
The Senate also agreed to two other anti-terror measures. Following a travel ban, a person’s passport or identity card will automatically expire. Additionally, a person suspected of attempting to join a terrorist organisation can be subject to restrictive conditions including monitoring, a restraining order, or an exclusion order.
National Coordinator for Counterterrorism Dick Schoof told Dutch public broadcaster NPO that since the autumn of 2014, 300 passports of suspected jihadists in the Netherlands have been confiscated.
The Dutch government likely pushed for the measures to win back support from right wing voters following the rise in popularity of prime ministerial candidate Wilders. With less than five weeks until the Dutch general election, Wilders’s party currently holds a comfortable 13-point lead. However, Rutte has ruled out a coalition with the PVV in the event of a Wilders victory.