If Iraq were to put Dutch jihadis on trial and sentence them to death the VVD would be prepared to accept it, MP Dilan Yesilgoz Zegerius told parliament during Wednesday’s debate about preventing Dutch jihadis from returning to this country.
Asked if the VVD would be prepared to drop its opposition to the death penalty if Dutch jihadis were tried by an Iraqi tribunal, Yesilgoz reiterated her party and the government’s opposition.
She continued: ‘But there comes a moment when we have to look at whether this is ot the ultimate consequence of what is going on here… These people went willingly to the caliphate … at a time when the death penalty operated in Iraq.’
If they now end up in the Iraqi justice system and the death penalty is the ultimate consequence then I think – yes, the VVD thinks – that we should be able to talk about it.’
Efforts to create an international tribunal in Iraq, which were initiated by foreign minister Stef Blok during a UN meeting in September of this year, are not progressing, however, and while Iraq’s foreign minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim said he was open to discussion, he also categorically refused to adapt Iraqi law to exclude the death penalty.
Blok, who is also a member of the VVD, has made removal of the death penalty option a key condition.
A number of European jihadis who have committed terrorist crimes in Iraq have already been sentenced to death, sparking concern from human rights groups which said the unwillingness of European countries, the Netherlands included, to take back ISIS fighters is leading to ‘rapid executions’
At the moment the Netherlands is blocking the return of Dutch jihadis and their families and a number of them have been stripped of their Dutch nationality. Matters are further complicated by warnings from the public prosecutor that jihadis whose passports have been taken may escape justice.
Yesilgoz’s comment that the Netherlands ‘should be willing to renounce that condition’ (of excluding the death penalty DN), was not welcomed by the other (coalition) parties.
D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma urged the VVD to withdraw the statement. Yesilgoz was ‘putting a bomb under the Dutch general policy’ because any visit by Blok to a country in which human rights are being violated, such as Saudi Arabia or Indonesia, could say that the Netherlands are accepting the death penalty for some and not for others, Sjoerdsma said.
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