Junior justice minister Fred Teeven came under fire from politicians and legal experts on Wednesday for comments about the death of a suspected burglar during a robbery gone wrong.
The minister was commenting on the incident in Noord Brabant on Monday night in which a suspected burglar died after a fight with the couple in a house he had broken into.
Caretaker minister Teeven told the Telegraaf: ‘It is regrettable that someone has died but that is the risk burglars take’.
Teeven also welcomed the fact the couple who lived in the house had not been arrested. ‘They are the victims and should not be treated as suspects’, he said
Parliamentarians from the D66 Liberals, Socialist Party and green party GroenLinks criticised the minister for making ‘a call to violence’. Nor was it sensible to comment before the case had been heard in court, MPs said.
Labour MP Ahmed Marcouch said people have the right to retaliate against burglars but disagreed with the idea that death is a risk burglars run.
Legal experts and academics also criticised the minister. ‘Such statements do not befit a minister’ and have a ‘wrong undertone’, Tilburg professor Theo de Roos told the Volkskrant.
The experts also questioned the concept of self-defence. ‘You cannot use a double-barrelled shotgun to defend yourself against someone with a needle,’ Groningen professor Nico Kwakman told the paper. ‘But you can defend yourself using similar weapons.’
The current government introduced new guidelines which say people who defend themselves against a burglar or armed robber should no longer be arrested.
Police are now investigating how the man died and whether or not the couple used excessive force. The man was unconscious when police arrived at the house and died in hospital.
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