The New Flemish Alliance (the Flemish nationalist conservative) party in the federal coalition government is pleading for immediate trials both for asylum seekers and those without residence permits who commit crimes. “If it is possible for hooligans, it must be so for them”, the party pointed out on Monday in both Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen. The Justice Minister, Koen Geens, stresses the risk of discrimination. Several crimes have taken place in Flanders, which are the cause of this NFA outburst. The party is putting pressure on the Justice Minister to place more emphasis on punishing asylum seekers and those without residence permits committing crimes.
“The Immigration Office can only deport or incarcerate anyone who has had a trial, which is often long-awaited,” the deputy Sophie De Wit observes. “Immediate trials may have a dissuasive effect and thus avoid the few tarnishing the image of the many asylum seekers as a whole.”
The Justice Minister is coming under fire for his stance on the proposal. “Sexual violence is still one of the priorities. I do not see why we should prosecute any differently simply on the basis of someone’s asylum seeker status.”
The NFA is blind to discrimination saying, “If fast-track procedures are possible for hooligans they should be permissible in this context.”