The Public Prosecution Service (OM) apologizes to seven people because they were wrongly identified as participants in a climate demonstration at Schiphol in November last year. The seven had received a warning letter from the Public Prosecution Service, stating that they had been present at the demonstration and had committed a crime.
That turned out not to be true. “It is disturbing that things did not go well here and we apologize for that,” says Deputy Chief Prosecutor Corien Fahner of the Noord-Holland public prosecutor’s office. this could have happened.”
Eight accused say they were elsewhere that day. Based on the results of the investigation, it cannot be established that the seven were present at Schiphol that day, the OM says. The investigation into the eighth person is still ongoing.
The letter informing the seven states that their personal data will be deleted “in relation to the demonstration”. The Public Prosecution Service also says that it regrets the course of events and that it will do everything it can to prevent this in the future.
A case against a man from Beilen is dropped. The Public Prosecution Service wanted to prosecute him for unlawfully entering a secured aerodrome because he had chained himself to an aircraft.
Investigations showed that although the man was present, he was not the person who had chained himself to an aircraft. He left the site when asked by the Marechaussee.
Public administration and campaign strategist Kirsten Verdel is one of seven people to be apologized. “Apologies are nice,” she says, but she’s not satisfied with it. “I still have no idea how they ended up with me. However, I had to spend a lot of time on all this, experienced a lot of stress and I am especially concerned for others who often unknowingly end up with this type of error somewhere on a come list.”
She is referring to lists in police and judicial systems. “A letter from the police states that I also appear in the ‘information collection bin’ of the police unit The Hague, which is linked to a registration date of an incident on January 30, months after the demonstration at Schiphol, but that seems to be the case. to be linked.” She is afraid that she will have problems with this in the future.
After the demonstration, 168 others also received the warning letter. On behalf of the Public Prosecution Service, the Marechaussee is now investigating how the identity of the other recipients of the letter was established.
“If it turns out that more people have been wrongly established that they were present at the demonstration, they will also be informed,” said the OM. The study is expected to be completed in early October.
Facial recognition software
On 5 November, climate activists from Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion, among others, entered the Schiphol-East area where private jets take off and land. The Marechaussee made arrests when some of the activists refused to leave. A number of them did not want to identify themselves, says the OM, or had taken measures to make identification more difficult.
The Marechaussee subsequently identified these persons using photos taken at Schiphol, facial recognition software, closed sources such as police information and photos in open sources, such as on social media.
After using facial recognition software, a manual check always takes place, says the OM.
- Members of parliament ask for clarification about tracing climate activists at Schiphol
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