Archive for Netherlands
A Venezuelan former intelligence chief who had been arrested in Aruba on US drugs charges has been freed. Hugo Carvajal was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Dutch foreign minister. Carvajal was freed late Sunday after being arrested last week in Aruba, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as he arrived to serve as Venezuela’s consul general on the Caribbean island. He was detained at the request of US prosecutors, who want to try him over alleged drug crimes and helping Colombia’s Marxist FARC guerrillas. Carvajal served as military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, from 2004-2011. At the time of his arrest, Carvajal’s diplomatic status had led to confusion as to whether he was entitled to immunity from prosecution. Aruban authorities had argued that did not have immunity because he had yet to be accredited by the Netherlands. That was cleared up at a press conference in Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, late on Sunday, when it was announced that Carvajal did indeed have immunity. However, it was also announced that the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, had declared the retired general ‘persona non grata’ – a term used by governments to remove diplomats. “The fact is that Mr. Carvajal was granted diplomatic immunity, but is also considered persona non grata,” said Aruban Justice Minister Arthur Dowers. Dowers said Carvajal was arrested because he had arrived on a diplomatic passport but had not yet been accredited by the Dutch authorities to serve as a diplomat on the island. Officials decided to act on the US detention request because of an international treaty between Washington and the Netherlands. US officials were “very disappointed” with the decision to free Carvajal, Aruban Justice Minister Dowers said.
People in the District hit the streets to mourn the 298 lives lost in Thursday’s deadly plane crash in the Ukraine. A candlelight vigil and march from the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Malaysia Embassy paid tribute to each innocent life cut short. The march was a silent, solemn walk of remembrance. Through candles and flowers, mourners found a way to honor the 298 individuals who perished aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Ukrainians turned out at the Dutch embassy in Kiev to pay tribute to the hundreds of people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine. A somber crowd of mourners presented wreaths and messages outside the embassy. One took the moment to make a political statement with a sign that read: “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a terrorist.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ordered all Dutch flags to fly at half-mast following the tragedy. “The whole of the Netherlands is in mourning,” Rutte said. Coming just months after Flight MH370 disappeared on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, this is the second loss for Malaysia Airlines in a year. Reports differ on the number of passengers on board the plane. Reuters has reported that 295 people on board the plane have been killed while Associated Press has put the number at 298.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom and The Netherlands have summoned the Sudanese ambassadors regarding Khartoum’s death sentence against a Sudanese woman, accused of ‘apostasy’ under Article 126 of the Sudanese Criminal Law. “Freedom of religion and belief is a universal human right,” the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, said. “Sudan has its own constitution, and signed a UN convention, in which this is enshrined.” The Foreign Secretary in the UK also summoned the Chargé d’Affaires at the Sudanese Embassy, Bukhari Afandi, to meet Political Director Simon Gass. Gass expressed deep concern at the recent decision to sentence Maryam Yahya Ibrahim to death for ‘apostasy’, for professing Christianity after having been born of a Muslim father. He asked the Chargé to urge his government to uphold its international obligations on freedom of religion or belief, and to do all it can to get this decision overturned. The detained Ibrahim, pregnant of her second child, is also charged with ‘adultery’ under Article 146 for having relations with her Christian husband. Sudan refuses to recognise the marriage of a Muslim woman to a Christian man.
The Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Nigeria has confirmed the receipt of applications for asylum by some Nigerians claiming to be homosexuals who want to leave the country for fear of persecution following President Goodluck Jonathan’s signing into law of the anti-same sex marriage bill. The embassy however said it lacks the power to grant asylum to applicants or process their applications. In an email to Thisday, the embassy wrote; “The embassy has received a small number of applications for asylum by Nigerians. It is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy. We inform the applicants likewise but we do not register the number of applications made. “At this stage, it is not possible to make predictions. That would be speculation. However, when people become increasingly aware that it is not possible to apply for asylum at the embassy, one could expect a decrease. The embassy is not involved in the asylum process, neither in the application nor in the determination of the authenticity of claims.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry filed a formal complaint with the Dutch ambassador to Israel over the decision by Vitens, a Dutch water company, to cut ties with its Israeli counterpart Mekorot due to the company’s presence in areas located beyond the 1949 Armistice lines. According to Kol Yisrael radio, the complaint said that the Dutch Foreign Ministry was creating an atmosphere that encourages a boycott of Israel. Meanwhile, Vitens said on Wednesday that it ended its partnership with Mekorot due to the “political context”, reported AFP. Vitens said, according to AFP, that the decision to end the Mekorot tie-up was made after conferring with the Dutch foreign ministry and other “concerned parties”. Mekorot, which provides water to Israeli towns and to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, has been accused by Dutch media of denying water access to Palestinian Authority Arabs. However, the head of Mekorot told Kol Yisrael radio on Wednesday night that not only was his company not denying water to PA Arab towns, it was in fact providing these towns with water. The complaint was filed with the ambassador during a meeting marking the conclusion of the visit to Israel of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The report added that the Dutch foreign ministry has indicated to Israel that Vitens’ decision was an independent one and was not made at the request of the government in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will question the U.S. Embassy over the purpose of its rooftop antennas, the minister wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives. Minister Ronald Plasterk will question the embassy after concerns were raised that the antennas can be used to intercept data from mobile phones used in the nearby Ministry of the Interior in The Hague and the Binnenhof, where the houses of parliament are located. Foreign powers are not allowed to conduct intelligence operations on Dutch soil unless they have the necessary approval, said Plasterk. Operations conducted without that permission are “unacceptable,” he said. But there is no reason to currently assume that the U.S. does not comply with the agreements, he added. Nevertheless, Plasterk said he would ask the embassy for clarification, adding that he would brief the House about the outcome. The Ministry of the Interior could not immediately respond to a request for comment. The U.S. Embassy could not be reached for comment.