The mayor of a Dutch town could face criminal charges for insisting a gang of allegedly criminal North African migrants stay inside their accommodation on New Year’s Eve to protect “public order and safety”.
Jos Heijmans, the Mayor of Weert, a city in the South of the Netherlands, argued the 26 migrants were due to be deported in the coming days and had little chance of winning asylum. The mayor also alleged they had been involved in criminality.
However the Union of Lawbreakers, which represents people convicted of crimes in the Netherlands, says the curfew measure was disproportionate and the asylum seekers should be able to seek compensation.
The union filed a criminal complaint against the mayor, and according to 1limburg, their secretary, Christiaan Bekema, said: “We are talking about an illegal restraint order.”
Mr. Heijmans, meanwhile, told NCR that he supports genuine asylum seekers, but the particular gang he ordered to stay indoors has terrorised his town and a number of them had been detained for crimes just days before the New Year’s celebrations.
“In the case of nuisance asylum seekers, I stand up for morality. Tensions ran high. There was shoplifting, pickpocketing, and fighting factions,” he said. “As mayor, you are responsible for public order and safety. When you hear about a situation like this you will intervene. ”
The Centre for Public Order and Safety, a research institute of the University of Groningen, disagreed, claiming the restraining order was illegal and insisted only a judge could issue it, not city authorities.
In 2015, the flow of migrants entering the Netherlands nearly doubled to a record 59,100, the Associated Press reported. The previous annual record was 52,575 in 1994.
Net migration for the first half of 2016 was twice as high as the previous year, resulting in the Dutch population experiencing its highest growth rate since 2001.