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EU justice chief proposes Europe-wide protection for ex-Dutch lawmaker Hirsi Ali

EU justice chief proposes Europe-wide protection for ex-Dutch lawmaker Hirsi Ali

The European Union's top justice official on Thursday proposed offering EU-wide protection to former Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other officials similarly threatened with death.
Franco Frattini, the EU's justice and interior affairs commissioner, said EU nations should draw up special measures to ensure Hirsi Ali and others in similar situations can move freely across the 27-nation bloc without fearing for their safety.
He said his plan won "unanimous" backing from EU justice and interior ministers, who agreed to draft rules to exchange and offer mutual recognition for people under national security protection.
Frattini said EU-wide regulation on the issue is important "to guarantee one of the most important rights: the rights of free movement."
"If you are not free, you are not safe," Frattini said.
Hirsi Ali, the target of death threats over her criticism of radical Islam, has called on the EU for help with protection.
The Dutch government stopped paying for her security last October after she moved to the U.S., but Dutch authorities are keen to have the EU set up rules for cases like Hirsi Ali.
It was not clear whether Frattini's proposal would involve EU money or voluntary national funds used to pay for the security of people under special protection.
The Somali-born Hirsi Ali became the target of threats after writing the screenplay for the film "Submission," a fictional study of abused Muslim women that includes scenes of near-naked women with Quranic texts engraved on their skin.
The film's Dutch director, Theo van Gogh, was killed by a Muslim extremist in Amsterdam in 2004. Hirsi Ali was threatened in a note left on his body.
She quit her position in Parliament and left the Netherlands in 2006 for the U.S. after a dispute over information she provided on her immigration application 14 years earlier.
Hirsi Ali said after being moved around the country more than 20 times, it became almost impossible for the Dutch to guarantee her security. The Netherlands has estimated the cost of full-scale protection of Hirsi Ali at some euro2 million (US$3 million) a year.
A group of 100 EU lawmakers earlier this month called on EU governments to take responsibility for her security.


Updated : 2021-02-27 03:06 GMT+08:00