October 25, 2008

Man harassed by police for 13 years after identity theft

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:39 am

A Dutchman of Surinamese decent has been fighting the police, customs and the DoJ for the past thirteen years after a criminal junkie kept pretending to be him, says the national ombudsman. The anonymous man has a criminal record of 43 crimes, none of which he committed. Although the police knew almost from the start that a criminal junkie kept using the man’s identity, they never succeeded in entirely clearing his name. Instead, the treatment the victim received over the years at the hands of the police and customs got worse and worse. Among other things the man was arrested for reading a newspaper and his house was searched in the presence of his two young children.

When the man asked the police what they were going to do to clear his name, he bluntly got told to change his identity.

The ombudsman concludes:

“Kafka'” and “Kafka-esque” are terms in danger of becoming over-used when describing government actions, but in this case the label is entirely deserved.

The government will introduce a law next year that should miraculously help minimize mix-ups such as these by limiting civil freedoms even further and by increasing the number of points of failure, though the ombudsman seems quite happy with (part of) the proposal.

(Edit 22-5-2018: replaced link to Ombudsman press release by link to Ombudsman news article)

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