More possibilities for fighting terrorism

The legislative proposal made by Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus to increase the possibilities for fighting terrorism was adopted by the Upper House of Parliament today. These measures are required to continue to be able to deal with terrorism effectively.

The proposal entails measures such as being able to remand suspects of serious terrorist offences in pre-trial detention for a longer period, based only on a suspicion. The aim is to allow more time to gather evidence, for example in cases where complicated (forensic) investigation is required. In such cases, the Public Prosecution Service must have the option of detaining terrorism suspects for a maximum of thirty additional days.

In addition, it will be easier to take samples of cell material for DNA analysis from suspects of terrorist offences. At present, this may only be done if there are grave presumptions against the suspect. This could form an obstacle to thorough investigation of terrorist offences, for example in situations where multiple suspects are involved and their mutual relations and work division need to be established, even though the suspicion related to individual suspects is not strong enough to warrant obtaining cell material from all of them. These are occasions when further investigation is indeed called for.

Furthermore, the obligation to report is being extended to all terrorist offences, including preparations for such offences. Information about possible attacks or participation in terrorist organisations is crucial to fighting terrorism. An alert and proactive environment creates chances for the timely discovery of preparations for an attack by a terrorist or group of terrorists.

The courts will also be given the possibility of disqualifying individuals who have been convicted of a terrorist offence from voting. At present, this is only possible in a restricted number of cases. This measure can only be imposed if the suspect has been convicted to serve a non-suspended prison sentence of at least one year for committing a terrorist offence.

Ministry responsible