Asylum seekers arrested for pickpocketing acquitted


Three of the Moroccan asylum seekers arrested for pickpocketing in the centre of Groningen have been acquitted by a court in Assen.

Three others were sentenced to four to eight weeks for stealing phones and a wallet.

The public prosecution office had opted for a fast-track procedure for fear the men might go on the run. According to the judge, stolen goods were traded in the asylum seekers centre in Delfzijl where some of the men were staying but because of the speed with which the men were brought to trial, many of the accusations remained unproven.

Lawyers for the men likened the trial to ‘a plate of spaghetti, or rather a pan full of ingredients that were supposed to become spaghetti’.

‘A white person would have been allowed to stay quietly at home to await his day in court. Why the hurry? The public prosecutor wanted it all to be done quick, quick, quick,’ the Volkskrant quotes one lawyer as saying.

Earlier this week the public prosecution office said Groningen city centre was ‘deluged’ by groups of pickpocketing asylum seekers, mainly from so-called ‘safe countries’ such as Morocco and Algeria.

People from these countries will almost certainly be deported. Police made some 20 arrests in the last couple of weeks, the paper said.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation