Ex-Danish minister convicted over 2016 asylum ruling

Inger Støjberg's policy on separating married asylum seekers ruled illegal.

casualnews
December 13th 2021

Ex-Danish minister convicted over 2016 asylum ruling

Inger Støjberg, a former Danish immigration minister and high-profile government figure during Europe’s 2015 migration crisis, was sentenced to 60 days in jail on Monday after an order she issued in 2016 was ruled illegal. 

Støjberg had said that if a member of a married couple seeking asylum in Denmark was found to be under 18 years old — the legal age for marriage in Denmark — then the couple should be separated and housed in separate asylum centers. 

Støjberg said at the time she was trying to protect “child brides” who may have been forced into marriage against their will before coming to Denmark. 

On Monday, a majority of judges on a rarely convened impeachment court ruled the instruction was illegal, highlighting in particular that it did not allow for cases to be examined on an individual basis. 

Speaking outside the court, Støjberg said the ruling was “very surprising” and went against what she believed her country should stand for. 

“I think it wasn’t just me that lost today, it was Danish values that lost today,” she told reporters. “I would like to say that if I had had to live with the fact that I had not protected these girls — that would actually have been worse than this,” she said.

The ruling was the latest twist in what has been a dramatic time in the political spotlight for Støjberg, beginning in 2015 when tens of thousands of asylum seekers entered Scandinavia during the migration crisis. 

Støjberg brought in a series of tough new initiatives to dissuade asylum seekers from coming to her country. 

These included a new rule granting border officials the authority to seize valuables to cover the cost of new arrivals’ stay in Denmark, as well as the rule allowing the separation of married couples, which was applied in 23 cases. 

“For me it is a point of principle that we don’t want to see child brides in Denmark,” Støjberg told reporters in 2016. 

Støjberg’s time as immigration minister ended in 2019 when her center-right Liberal Party lost power at a general election.

In February this year, she quit the party as the impeachment trial loomed, but her time in frontline politics may not be over yet. 

Last month, the leader of the far-right Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, said he planned to resign after a poor showing at recent elections, and Støjberg has been suggested as a potential successor. 

“I will take my punishment,” she said on Monday. “And then I will move on after that.”

(Source : https://www.politico.eu)
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