Saturday 15 May 2021

Canada deports Dutchman who left Netherlands at eight months

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Canada is deporting a man who arrived from the Netherlands as an eight-month-old baby after he was given a nine-month prison sentence for assault and firearms offences.

Len van Heest, 59, who speaks no Dutch and has no immediate family in the country, is flying in to Schiphol airport on Tuesday morning. He was expelled under a Canadian law that requires foreign natioanls who go to prison for longer than six months to leave the country.

Cornel Vader, director of the Salvation Army, told Radio 2 that the charity would take him in at first. ‘It can be difficult to find your way here if you start from scratch in administrative terms and you don’t know anybody,’ he said.

Van Heest has spent years fighting his extradition, which was also opposed by the Dutch interior ministry. The ministry had to arrange an emergency passport before he could fly home after his legal challenge failed.

He emigrated to Canada with his mother, Trixie, now 81, and has been convicted several times since his youth of assault, threatening behaviour and possession of firearms. Van Heest is said to suffer from a bipolar disorder. His most recent conviction was in December 2012.

Last week he told Canadian television: ‘I have paid my debt to society. Now they are giving me a life sentence.’

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