Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

Danish ex-immigration minister gets 60 days jail

Listen to article

Denmark's former immigration minister Inger Støjberg was on Monday (13 December) sentenced to 60 days in jail for separating married asylum seekers.

The jail term comes as a blow to the former conservative-liberal minister whose anti-migrant policies were strengthened to rely on the support of the far-right Danish People's Party during her tenure from 2015 to 2019.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The 48-year old Støjberg was given the sentence for having issued an order, in February 2016, to separate married and cohabiting couples, if one of the two was deemed a minor.

But the Danish Supreme Court ruled it unlawful, noting that no individual assessments had been made prior to the separations.

The judges said the order had violated Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which deals with the right to respect for private and family life.

It had also breached Danish laws, it said, describing Støjberg's violations as having been committed "intentionally or through gross negligence". She also stood accused of providing parliament with "incorrect or misleading information".

Some 23 married couples were separated in a policy Støjberg argued was designed to tackle child marriage. The women said they had consented to the relationships.

Støjberg of the conservative-liberal Venstre party at the time, plus senior members of the Danish People's Party, said the verdict had come as a surprise.

"I'm very, very surprised. I have to say that, and I think it is the Danish values ​​that have lost today, it is not just me, but the Danish values," said Støjberg who resigned from Venstre in February and is now an independent MP.

However, the order on separations were not the only controversial measures Støjberg enacted.

Under her tenure, Denmark had also drawn up plans to seize migrants' jewellery and valuables to cover the costs of their stay in the country.

At the time, Støjberg defended the policy, saying that Danes are also sometimes required to sell off their valuables before receiving benefits. She had also launched ads in Lebanese newspapers to discourage would-be Syrian asylum seekers from going to Denmark.

The Monday ruling is final, although it may be possible for Støjberg to serve some of the sentence wearing an ankle-bracelet.

The court verdict comes amid a further hardening of the current left-leaning government's position on asylum, which it seeks to outsource.

Over the summer, Rasmus Stoklund, the government party's immigration speaker, said the overall plan was to stop people from seeking asylum in Denmark.

Stoklund's comments came on the back of a Danish law that seeks to relocate asylum seekers to other countries like Rwanda.

Some 1,500 people applied for asylum in Denmark last year, compared to the peak of more than 21,000 in 2015.

MEPs to grill Denmark for pushing Syrians to EU states

MEPs are taking the EU-lead to hold Denmark to account for stripping Syrians of residency rights. Although aware of the problem, the European Commission has other priorities while the issue has not been raised at the Council, representing member states.

Greece defends disputed media and migration track record

UN human rights council says push backs in Greece have become de facto general policy. Reporters without Borders says press freedoms in Greece are among the worst in Europe. Greece's PM refutes both to MEPs in Strasbourg.

News in Brief

  1. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  2. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  3. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  4. British PM faces mounting rebellion
  5. Russian military base near Finnish border emptied
  6. Euro slides to lowest level in two decades
  7. State intervention ends Norwegian oil and gas strike
  8. France repatriates 35 children from Syrian camp

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  2. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  3. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  4. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  5. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  6. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  7. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  8. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us