MPs, mayors, lawyers and an aid group are now involved in the campaign to free a Dutch national who was arrested in Spain six weeks ago because he was a “terrorism risk”.
The Tilburg man, who has Moroccan roots, was taken from his hotel in Spain at the end of July while on his way to Morocco with his wife for a holiday. Since then he has been held in custody because, the Spanish reportedly say, he is a risk to national security and was on a list banning him from entering the country.
The man told the AD on Thursday that he is being kept in a cell with five other people with no privacy or ventilation despite the heat. “I cannot believe what has happened to me and that I have been left to fend for myself,” he told the paper.
The Spanish police have not said what source they base the arrest on. Friends and family say the man is not wanted on any charges in the Netherlands and is not on any wanted list.
Non-profit agency Muslim Rights Watch is now calling on the Dutch authorities to take action. “We have done what we can, including visiting him in jail and paying for legal help,” spokesman Adil el Kanfoudi told the paper. The man’s lawyer Samira Sabir has now applied for an emergency court hearing in The Hague to force the Dutch to get involved.
“We have strong indications that the mistaken information comes from the Netherlands,” she told the AD. “We are therefore urgently asking for the correct information to be sent to the Spanish authorities and that efforts be made to bring our client home.”
Sabir suspects the man is one of hundreds of Dutch nationals who have been wrongly included on a secret terror list that hit the headlines last month. Justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz has admitted the list exists but says it is up to the victims themselves to have their names removed.
Tilburg mayor Theo Weterings and Arnhem’s Ahmed Marcouch have also urged the Spanish authorities to release the man.
“Attempts to get any more information have failed because people refer to privacy legislation or point us to another organisation,” they said in their appeal. “The situation is having a major impact on everyone involved.”
The Dutch foreign affairs ministry said that its role in the affair is no more than “extending consular assistance”. Denk MP Stephan van Baarle has called on Yesilgöz to intervene.
Muslim Rights Watch Nederland says dozens of Dutch nationals have been detained in recent months because they are on the secret list.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
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