Moroccan Asylum Seeker Returns to Netherlands

7 October 2011


Hassan Bakir, secretary general of Moroccan Islamist group Shabiba Islamiyya, was arrested in Spain while on vacation with his family, and detained for the past two months while Spanish courts rule on is possible extradition to Morocco.

Bakir had been living in the Netherlands since 2005. In 1985 at the age of 18 Bakir was sentenced to death in absentia for his political activities in Morocco. Following a 20 year exile from Morocco in Libya, he was granted political asylum in the Netherlands, now teaches at the Islamic University of Rotterdam. Bakir’s arrest in Spain acts on the 1985 conviction; he faces the death penalty if extradited to Morocco.

Bakir has publicly stated that he is disappointed with support he has received during the detention in Spain, as well as condemning newspaper reports labeling him a terrorist.

On 7 October newspapers reported that Bakir has fled back to the Netherlands from Spain in advance of potential extradition to Morocco. Radio Netherlands Worldwide quotes legal expert Bart Stapert’s opinion that, while Morocco can request that the Netherlands extradite Bakir, the country “will not do that because he has political asylum here.” Stapert further hypothesizes that while Bakir has criticized the lack of response from Dutch atuthorities, “behind the scenes they have done a lot more for him.”