Inhuman and Unnecessary: Human Rights Violations in Dutch High-Security Prisons in the Context of Counterterrorism

Inhuman and Unnecessary: Human Rights Violations in Dutch High-Security Prisons in the Context of Counterterrorism

In the Netherlands, individuals who are suspected or convicted on terrorism charges are held in two special high-security detention units, known as terroristenafdeling, or TA.

In these facilities, people suspected of even nonviolent offenses are subject to the same extreme levels of control as those who have been convicted. That includes extensive daily confinement in their cells and intrusive body searches, whether or not the individual in question poses a genuine threat.

This report, Inhuman and Unnecessary: Human Rights Violations in Dutch High-Security Prisons in the Context of Counterterrorism, by researchers from the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amnesty International Netherlands, reveals the fundamental flaws in the TA system. It draws on scores of interviews with former detainees, prison officials, and others in the Netherlands’ justice system. It calls for urgent changes to ensure that a system designed to protect the citizens of the Netherlands does not do so at the expense of human rights.