Raids without warrants: Denmark unveils tough new anti-jihadist proposals

Raids without warrants: Denmark unveils tough new anti-jihadist proposals
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks to police officers during a visit to Aalborg on Thursday. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
The government is to work for tough new laws on citizens convicted of foreign militant activity, but is likely to be challenged by parties to its left.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, along with Minister of Justice Nick Hækkerup and Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye, were on Thursday scheduled to present the government's proposals to introduce stricter rules against what it terms “foreign fighters” (fremmedkrigere).

According to reports in Danish media on Thursday, those proposals include a ban on entering Denmark as well as a contact ban for persons convicted of terrorism.

Additionally, the government will be able to give full custody to the non-convicted parent in cases where a parent is convicted as a foreign militant.

This means that, should the proposals become law, police will be able to enter homes without a warrant in order to check compliance with bans against contacting specified individuals.

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Kristian Hegaard, spokesperson for justice with the Social Liberal party, a parliamentary ally of the governing Social Democrats, criticized the proposal prior to its official presentation on Thursday.

“This has no place in a country which has the rule of law. Coercive interventions must be approved by a judge based on suspicions,” Hegaard said.

“I am concerned about whether this is a trend we are going to see for more types of crime, where police will be able enter people’s homes without a court warrant,” he continued.

“We must maintain the values we associate with the rule of law. Without exception,” he also said.

The proposal to remove custody from one or both parents convicted of fighting for foreign militant groups has also been criticized by the left.

According to the new proposals, such convictions will allow authorities to give sole custody of children to the non-convicted parent. If both parents are convicted, the child or children will be placed into foster care.

Pernille Skipper, lead political spokesperson with the Red Green Alliance, called this approach wrong.

“If a person is convicted of a serious crime – whether that is foreign militancy or a violent break-in – there is a mechanism for the municipality or experts to assess whether their children are doing okay at home,” Skipper said.

“But to say that a conviction means an automatic forced removal of children from their parents – that has no place in a democratic society,” she said.

Last year, parliament passed a highly-debated, expedited law which enables the immigration minister to revoke without legal process the passports of citizens who have fought for militant groups abroad. Individuals can appeal against the decision through the courts.

All parties on the right voted in favour of the bill, as did the governing Social Democrats. Left-of-centre parties the Social Liberals, Red Green Alliance and Alternative voted against, while the Socialist People's Party abstained.

The law allows the government to strip passports and rights from Danes who have, for example, fought for militant group Islamic State (Isis) in Syria.

Three people with dual citizenship have had their Danish passports revoked under the law since it came into force.

 


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