General

Dutch court upholds controversial virus curfew

A Dutch court Friday upheld an appeal

by the government against a lower court’s order to scrap a controversial

coronavirus curfew, saying the cabinet had not overstepped its brief.

Friday’s ruling against the case brought by the Covid-sceptic group Virus

Truth has limited impact as parliament already pushed through a new law to

support the curfew instituted on January 23.

The introduction of the curfew — the first since Nazi occupation during

World War II — led to three days of severe rioting across the country in

late January.

But police clamped down and hundreds of rioters were arrested. Many have

already been sentenced by Dutch courts.

A lower court judge earlier this month said Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s

government overstepped its authority when it imposed the 9:00 pm to 4:30 am

curfew based on a law that gives government emergency powers.

Such measures could only be used in sudden national emergencies such as a

dyke breach, the lower court judge ruled.

However, the Hague Appeals Court on Friday said there were “indeed

exceptional circumstances to make the introduction of the curfew possible.”

“The corona pandemic is sufficient reason for this,” the court said in a

statement, adding government was relying on advice from scientific experts on

its Outbreak Management Team.

Judges also found that the curfew was “proportional and that no other means

were reasonable available. The situation was urgent,” the judges said.

“The (temporary and limited) violation of various fundamental rights, such

as the right to freedom of movement, is therefore justified,” the judges

said.

Earlier this week Rutte announced that the measure would be extended until

at least March 15, two days ahead of general elections in the country.

Cabinet will decide next week whether to further lengthen the curfew beyond

March 15, as the country continues to battle the virus which has now killed

some 15,400 and infected more than one million others.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)