My first reaction when I saw this story was: “This has got to be a hoax.”
But it doesn’t seem to be.
In most European countries a citizen has very little right to privacy, even in his own home. If you live in the Netherlands, however, a thief may claim a right to privacy — in your home.
Here’s the story from De Telegraaf, as translated by our expatriate Dutch correspondent H. Numan (follow the link for the video):
‘Camera in a private residence violates privacy of intruder’
EMMEN — Police in Drenthe province placed video images of an intruder on the Internet. Doing that damages the privacy of an intruder, is the opinion of the Lawbreakers Association [yes, it really exists — translator]. The Association filed a complaint with the National Ombudsman.
The images show the suspect searching the living room of an 88-year-old woman in Emmen. The cameras were put in place by the woman’s family, because it isn’t the first time this suspect broke in to her house. The family handed the tapes in to the police.
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According to the Association, suspects are allowed to be videotaped in shops. “But this goes too far in private residences,” according to a spokesman. “Going to the National Ombudsman is a kind of legal trial to see how far people are allowed to go.”
To make such a video public requires permission of the District Attorney. That was granted in this particular case.
The police in Drenthe respond that they acted within the law, and the importance of the investigation has priority with regard to making this video public. No tips concerning the identity of the burglar have been received as yet.
H. Numan remarks: “I think a country like this really deserves sharia law.”
There 1,107 comments on the article in De Telegraaf as of post time, and I’ll bet a lot of them are pungent.
If you read Dutch and want to translate some of them for our comments, that’s fine, but please use asterisks or euphemisms when appropriate. The Dutch are not known for restraining their scatological impulses when their ire is aroused.