HOLLAND – A 19-year-old man, born and raised in Amsterdam, is now being held in custody in Rotterdam and facing deportation to the Dominican Republic, a country that he has never visited in his life. The trouble started when Daniel Buter went to the municipality to apply for a passport and was told that he does not actually have Dutch nationality. His friends launched a petition calling on the authorities to reassess his case, Het Parool reports, which had garnered well over 12 thousand signatures by Thursday morning.
“He is just Dutch,” said friend and petition initiator Maroua Bensalah. Speaking with the newspaper, she said that Buter knows only the Netherlands as his home, it being the country where he grew up and went to school. “He is now in prison with people suspected of manslaughter and money laundering”, Bensaleh said. “He has zero ties with the Dominican Republic. He has never been there and knows no one there.”
Buter was born in Amsterdam to Dominican parents, and only first found he did not have Dutch citizenship when he went to get the passport he needed to register for higher education classes, the newspapers reported. The municipality said he did not have a Dutch identity, and reported it to immigration and naturalization service IND. The IND called him for an interview which he did not attend on the advice of his attorney. He was later arrested, and as of Thursday had been sitting in jail for two weeks.
His next court appearance is scheduled for February, when a judge will determine if he is to be deported to the Dominican Republic.
Bensaleh told the newspaper that Buter indeed has a citizen service number, or BSN, a unique number assigned to everyone residing in the Netherlands. She said Buter’s BSN was later recorded in the Dutch passports held by his parents, who abandoned him when he was three years old.
His parents later renounced their passports, stripping Buter of his claim to Dutch citizenship. Buter’s grandmother, who raised him, asked the municipality what to do. “They told her that he could just register with schools with his old BSN. It worked, but it should not have been possible”, Bensalah said to the Parool.
“The government should have declared his BSN invalid, but apparently the administration was not in order. If that had been the case, it would have become clear that there was a problem when he was enrolled in primary school Then as a minor he would have made claim to other arrangements and would have been spared all this misery”, Bensalah said.
She blames Buter’s troubles on the municipality, the Dutch government, and his biological parents. She said Bensalah is a bright person who does not deserve to be treated in such a way.
“He has a lot of humor, takes initiative and is helpful. He is very committed to others and has no experience with the police and judiciary.”
“In the beginning he was very down. He struggled to find his way in prison. But it means a lot to him that so many people care about him. He is happy and makes jokes. He is worried about his grandmother, because he takes care of her. He hopes to be able to celebrate Christmas at home,” she said.
With this petition, Buter’s friends hope to convince the authorities to reassess his case, and at least let him await his court appearance in freedom.