The Dutch ambassador for Bahrain, who strongly criticized the Immigration Service IND for rejecting asylum seeker Ali al-Showaikh without consulting him, seems “not completely familiar” with the asylum system. With these words, State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol (Asylum and Migration, VVD) on Tuesday parried the diplomat’s swipe in a confidential inspection report in June by letter to parliament. The Netherlands deported Al-Showaikh to Bahrain at the end of 2018, where he was imprisoned for life after a summary trial.
In an investigation into the case, Ambassador Frans Potuyt told the Justice and Security Inspectorate that if he had been approached, he had warned the IND that the Bahraini regime is “very harsh” against critical Shias and that it is “only returning” Shias. risky. However, Broekers-Knol now writes, the ambassador did not know Al-Showaikh’s asylum file “to the fullest extent”. Moreover, according to her and the Inspectorate, a request for information to Potuyt would have disregarded the ‘due care requirements’ for asylum procedures.
In the letter to Parliament, the State Secretary reiterates her earlier conclusion that Al-Showaikh’s case has been handled “carefully”. According to Broekers-Knol, the Bahrain can be accused of withholding relevant information during his IND interview and declaring it ‘implausible’.
Broekers-Knol refers in its letter to Parliament to the inspectorate, which wrote that the IND had ‘followed all the usual steps’. However, the inspectorate did not judge the quality of those steps and experts to whom NRC submitted the report, concluded that the IND was failing.
Ali al-Showaikh was not welcome in the Netherlands, he is now in prison for life in Bahrain
Main criticism was that the service did not sufficiently investigate whether Al-Showaikh was rightly afraid of persecution for his brother’s activism. Broekers-Knol now writes that the IND was allowed to conclude that Al-Showaikh had nothing to fear because he had traveled out of Bahrain legally and had no problems until then. However, suspicions against Al-Showaikh’s group did not start rolling until just before his departure, according to NRC research, and Bahrain did not request his brother’s extradition in Germany until after Al-Showaikh’s flight.
In response to the letter to Parliament, the Council for Refugees says it is “shocked” about Broekers-Knol’s conclusion that nothing went wrong. According to the organization, her “lack of self-reflection” prevents the IND from learning lessons “that can be of vital importance” for other asylum seekers.