Koenders freezes assets of nine Dutch citizens

Foreign minister Bert Koenders has frozen the financial assets of nine Dutch citizens. The nine people concerned have been placed on the terrorism sanctions list. This means they can no longer access their Dutch bank accounts or use their credit cards. The list now numbers 121 people, 28 of whom are women, and 3 organisations. Most of the people on the list have been involved in terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq.

‘The freezing of assets is a way of dealing with Dutch nationals who join terrorist groups,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘It's a step we are justified in taking, because these people are contributing to the relentless violence afflicting the region. They also pose a potential risk when they re-enter Dutch society.’

Six of the new additions to the list are women. The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) last year published a booklet entitled Leven bij ISIS, de mythe ontrafeld (Living with ISIS, the myth unravelled). The booklet explains that women who travel to areas under ISIS control are expected to show active commitment to the group. Their primary task is to marry quickly and have children. Another important task is to recruit new women – often family members and friends – to the cause. Some women work as teachers or nurses, while others carry out logistical tasks for ISIS. One thing these women have in common is that they all help sustain ISIS.

The terrorism sanctions list is not a list of wanted persons or most wanted terrorists, but of people and organisations subject to asset-freezing measures. Once added to the list, people can no longer access their financial assets. Furthermore, it is a criminal offence to provide anyone on the list with funds, for instance by transferring money to them. Freezing assets of individuals is one of the measures the government can take to counteract terrorism. Individual developments and developments in the conflict area may give cause for new or different measures.