Dutch Authorities Express Regret Over Arrest of Indian Muslims

August 25, 2006

Source: The Washington Post

Wire Service: Reuters


On August 25, 2006 Reuters reported, "Twelve Indians who caused panic aboard an India-bound U.S. airliner returned home on Saturday, saying they were not ill-treated by the Dutch authorities and requesting the matter be considered closed. Air marshals arrested the men, all Muslims, on Wednesday on a Northwest Airlines flight which was escorted back to Amsterdam by military planes after they behaved suspiciously -- exchanging seats and mobile phones in flight. After intense interrogation, they were cleared of any wrongdoing and released. Their families have said they were victims of racial discrimination. The Dutch ambassador to India, who was summoned by the Indian foreign office on Friday, expressed regret for the incident. 'Yes we had exchanged seats,' said Mohammad Iqbal Batliwala, a garment trader in his mid-40s. 'We were in a group so we were adjusting seats among ourselves. They misunderstood and thought we were going to do something to the plane. They did not force or ill-treat us while talking to us ... It has been sorted out,' he added."