Dutch lawyer ‘refused US visa’ because of terrorism defence work

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Dutch lawyer Serge Weening has been banned from entering the US, possibly because he has defended several terrorism suspects, law journal Advocatenblad said this week.

Weening is one of the lawyers involved in the defence of an alleged terrorist cell rolled up last September. The public prosecution department says the group were planning an attack at a major event in the Netherlands.

Weening and his girlfriend were planning a holiday in Miami but his application for an ESTA permit was rejected three days after it was made, Weening told the journal.  Attempts to apply for a formal visa at the US embassy in Wassenaar also failed.

‘The only questions I was asked at the embassy were about my job,’ Weening told broadcaster RTL. ‘They asked if I took on high profile cases as a lawyer and when I mentioned the word ‘terrorism’, they ended the conversation. They said I would have to be screened in the US and that would take months.’

The Dutch law society has condemned the refusal to allow Weening a visa and has raised the issue with both the Dutch foreign and justice ministries.

Weening has now changed his travel plans, and will holiday in Jamaica instead.

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