‘Lawyers are no longer allowed to take laptops into Vught prison’

Lawyers who want to visit their client in the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught have been obliged to do so since last week without being allowed to take their laptop or other data carriers with them. The decision was taken with a view to safety, the prison management writes in a letter that the AD has seen.

In principle, lawyers are allowed to take data carriers, for example telephones or laptops on which file documents are stored, into prison to conversations with their clients. This policy did not apply in the EBI, but lawyers’ laptops were tolerated.

So that is now coming to an end. “Continuation of this working method is not justified at the moment or is not compatible with the safety of the EBI”, the management writes. “From now on, it is not allowed to import digital data carriers.”

Messages to the outside world

After the recent arrest of Youssef T., the question arose whether the rules for lawyers should be adjusted. T. is a first cousin of criminal Ridouan Taghi, who is detained in Vught, and he also acted as his lawyer. Ridouan Taghi is in restrictions, which means that he is only allowed to have contact with his lawyer or lawyers, even if they are his family.

Youssef T. was arrested early this month while visiting Ridouan Taghi in the EBI. He is suspected of having forwarded messages from Taghi to the outside world.

‘Unpleasantly surprised’

Jeroen Soeteman, chairman of the Dutch Association of Criminal Lawyers, says that the measure is an unpleasant surprise for the profession. “It cannot be the case that the entire legal profession is imposed such a draconian measure because of one incident. There is a suspicion against one lawyer. Then it is lost sight of that 18,000 lawyers are doing their job well.”