Ayaan Hirsi Ali staakt strijd om beveiliging
Bron: Volkskrant 2 nov 2009
‘Schandalig’ vindt Ayaan Hirsi Ali de wijze waarop Nederland met haar beveiliging is omgegaan. Begin oktober staakte zij de juridische procedure tegen de Nederlandse staat, waarmee ze de regering wilde dwingen haar beveiliging – ook bij verblijf buiten Nederland – te blijven betalen, meldde het Nederlands Dagblad onlangs.
In Het Parool van zaterdag zegt ze dat ze zich de juridische strijd financieel niet langer kan permitteren. ‘Al het geld, van mijzelf, van sponsors en van het AEI gaat naar privébeveiliging.’ Hirsi Ali werkt sinds september 2006 voor het American Enterprise Institute (AEI), een conservatieve denktank in Washington.
Al voor de moord op Theo van Gogh (vandaag vijf jaar geleden), werd Hirsi Ali met de dood bedreigd en beveiligd. De hoogste alarmfase werd afgekondigd toen de brief werd gevonden die Mohammed B. met een mes op het lichaam van de filmmaker had geprikt. ‘Dit is een open brief aan de ongelovige fundamentalist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. U marcheert in de ranken van de soldaten van het kwaad. Deze brief is een poging om uw kwaad voor eens en altijd het zwijgen te doen opleggen.’
Hirsi Ali werd onmiddellijk op een geheime plek in Nederland ondergebracht en een week later naar een onderduikadres in Amerika gevlogen. In januari 2005 keerde de toenmalige VVD-politica terug in de Tweede Kamer, waar ze werkte tot haar vertrek naar de VS. Sinds de moord op Van Gogh wordt zij streng bewaakt, waar zij zich ook ter wereld bevindt.
Vorig jaar zomer stapte Hirsi Ali naar de rechter in een poging aan te tonen dat Nederland financieel verantwoordelijk blijft voor haar beveiliging. Dat was haar toegezegd, beweerde ze. Diverse getuigen zijn onder ede verhoord, onder wie oud-minister Gerrit Zalm en voormalig Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding Tjibbe Joustra.
Joustra en Zalm zeiden dat Hirsi Ali wel degelijk wist dat Nederland na verloop van tijd zou stoppen met betalen. Medewerkers van Hirsi Ali verklaarden echter dat zowel Joustra als Zalm haar had beloofd ook in de VS voor bewaking te zorgen. In elk geval tot de Amerikaanse autoriteiten de bewaking zouden overnemen of totdat zij zelf voldoende geld zou hebben om haar beveiliging te regelen.
Zalm told the judicial hearing that he had done everything in his power to ensure that Hirsi Ali would continue to be protected after she left the Netherlands. He said he repeatedly urged the justice minister and the US ambassador at the time to ensure that the former politician would get security. They said everything would be arranged. And that’s what he told Hirsi Ali, who was extremely worried about her safety.
Hirsi Ali said she considered Zalm’s reassuring words as confirmation that the Dutch cabinet would take care of her security, at home and abroad. But naturally, said Zalm yesterday, as finance minister he had not become involved with security arrangements. He acted - and this was “completely clear to Hirsi Ali” - as her friend and political mentor.
Nevertheless he made extensive use of his position as minister. His talks with the US ambassador were held in the ministerial office "while enjoying a glass of American whiskey". He used cabinet meetings to approach the justice minister about Hirsi Ali’s security.
When it looked like Hirsi Ali would lose her Dutch passport in 2006 because she had lied about her name during her asylum request in 1992, Zalm asked his ministry’s lawyers for advice on her legal position.
Hirsi Ali continued to be guarded by Dutch security officials when she went to the US in Augustus 2006. But it was never the intention of the Dutch government to do this “indefinitely”, said Zalm yesterday.
The Americans would take over at a certain point, or at least, that was the cabinet expected. But it was not long before Zalm heard from the Dutch justice minister that this assumption was incorrect. According to US law, private individuals are not entitled to permanent security. The cabinet decided it was then up to Hirsi Ali or her American employer to take over responsibility for her security.
At the hearing, Hirsi Ali's lawyer Britta Böhler tried to establish whether Hirsi Ali had been told unequivocally that her security arrangements were temporary. Had Zalm explicitly told his ward that “The Netherlands is stopping, the Americans are not taking it over, and your security is up to you?” Böhler asked.
Zalm didn't think he did, but said he couldn't really remember. Hirsi Ali must have been aware of the fact, he said. In conversations about her security the phrase “transition agreement” was always used and that implied a temporary period.
Böhler put the same question to the second witness, counter-terrorism chief Tjibbe Joustra. He was responsible for Hirsi Ali's security and had regular discussions about it with her. But at the hearing he could not remember much about them.
Böhler: “Was it clear to her that the security arrangements were temporary?”
Joustra: “If you say, 'I am not giving an exact end date' [for the US security] then it is clear that there is an end date.”
Böhler: “Was she told what this would mean to her?”
Joustra: “I don't know. Doubtless.”
Böhler: “Did you say 'you will then have to take care of your own security'?”
Joustra: “I do not know if it was said, literally. It was the theme of the discussion. Hirsi Ali is extremely intelligent and can draw her own conclusions.”
Böhler: “How did she react when she heard the security was being stopped?”
Joustra: “I really cannot remember.”
On just one point Zalm and Joustra seemed to have a different recollection of what had happened. Zalm no longer knows whether Hirsi Ali discovered the US would not take charge of her security before or after she left. Joustra knew it before her departure and Hirsi Ali knew it as well, he said. Even though he had to admit he himself never told her.
Lawyer Bert-Jan Houtzagers who was at the hearing on behalf of the state, had just one question to witnesses: had they explicitly told Hirsi Ali that the state would be financially responsible for her security, even if she moved abroad? Both witnesses had good memories on that score: no.