IND did not question ambassador ahead of jailed Bahraini refugee’s deportation

The IND offices in The Hague. Photo:
The IND offices in The Hague. Photo:

The IND immigration service failed to ask Dutch diplomats in Bahrain for information when assessing the case of asylum seeker Ali-Mohammed al-Showaikh, who was deported in 2018 and jailed for life, the ambassador has said in a confidential report for the justice ministry.

The report by Frans Potuyt is in the hands of the NRC. In the letter, Potuyt says he was only made aware of the case after al-Showaikh was deported. He was arrested on arrival and jailed for life for ‘terrorist activities’.

Al-Showaikh fled to the Netherlands in 2017 because his brother was a political activist and he was afraid of police reprisals. His claim for asylum was dismissed and he was deported in October 2018.

Dutch refugee group Vluchtelingenwerk and Amnesty International have both accused the Netherlands of human rights abuses in sending al-Showaikh back to Bahrain, when officials are well aware how Bahrain deals with the families of political activists.

Potuyt said that if he had been asked about the case he would have told officials that the Sunni regime is ‘very tough’ on critical Shiites like al-Showaikh and that his deportation would have been risky.

The justice ministry was ordered to investigate the circumstances of his deportation in early 2019. The report has been finalised but has not yet been published.

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