Danish immigration minister wants easier deportations for foreign lawbreakers

Denmark’s Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek hopes to make it easier to deport foreign citizens who commit serious crimes in Denmark.

Danish immigration minister wants easier deportations for foreign lawbreakers
Immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek, pictured here at a previous briefing, wants to make it easier to deport foreign citizens who commit violent crimes in Denmark.Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The immigration minister wants to ensure that anyone without permanent residency or citizenship in Denmark would be deported if given an unconditional prison sentence.

“If you have committed very violent crime or are a violent criminal or rapist, you should not be allowed to stay in Denmark if you do not have permanent residency or are not a citizen,” Bek told news wire Ritzau.

The minister said he wants to do away with current standards, referred to as the ‘stepladder model,’ which mean that only more serious crimes can trigger deportation if the offender has lived in Denmark for longer than five or nine years. 

Bek earlier said there had been “very many cases” in which foreign nationals avoided deportation despite an unconditional prison sentence because they had resided in Denmark for a long time.

The minister’s proposal would only allow a foreign national with an unconditional sentence to remain in Denmark if international rights obligations observed by Denmark mandated it.

But Bek’s comments suggest that he has interpreted current rules incorrectly, according to Information’s reporting.

That is because current rules already provide for deportation of convicted violent criminals including rapists regardless of the length of time for which they have lived in Denmark. Crimes of this sort are exempted from the stepladder model.

In comments to newspaper Dagbladet Information, Bek did not elaborate why he cited violence and rape in relation to proposed stricter rules.

“Every deported criminal alien is good. No matter how many there are. The point is that we must do everything we can to get criminal aliens deported. That is what we are doing with these new deportation rules,” he told the newspaper in writing.

Bek’s ministry issued a written comment to Information saying the proposed changes would be ineffectual.

“The initial assessment is that the proposal would not result in significantly more deportations in practice,” it said.

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Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks

Danish prosecutors on Friday charged the country's former military intelligence chief with leaking state secrets, following a scandal over Denmark's cooperation with US intelligence.

Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks
The prosecution authority said Lars Findsen was accused of “having divulged secrets important to national security on several occasions and… under particularly aggravated circumstances”.
The details of the investigation are classified, but the case comes after Danish media reported that the Danish intelligence services had cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Findsen, who was suspended in August 2020 without public explanation, was subsequently held in custody from December 2021 to February 2022. He insists he is innocent.

“I never divulged any state secrets. I reject the allegations”, he told Danish news agency Ritzau in June, criticising the handling of the case as “ridiculous”.

Prosecutors accuse Findsen of leaking state secrets and other confidential information after his suspension to six people, including two journalists, over a period of up to 17 months.

The leaks could “harm relations with other intelligence service partners and make their work more difficult if their work methods were revealed”, prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said.
“Trust in the (Danish) intelligence service’s ability to protect sensitive information may have been weakened,” he added.
The prosecution said it would request a trial behind closed doors. A date has yet to be set.
While Denmark never publicly revealed why Findsen and the other agents were suspended, there have been suspicions that his service conducted illegal surveillance.
The government accused them of hiding “crucial information” and providing “false information to the authorities” between 2014 and 2020.
In May 2021, an investigation by several Danish media revealed that the NSA used Danish underwater cables to spy on officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden until at least 2014.
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel was among the NSA’s targets.
The revelations sparked an international scandal and the four countries demanded explanations from Washington and Copenhagen.