Denmark’s immigration minister jailed for tearing refugee families apart
Denmark's former immigration minister, Inger Stoejberg, has been sentenced to prison by an impeachment court over separations of refugee families ordered during her time in office. Her policies were widely seen as anti-Muslim. | Peter Hove Olesen / POLFOTO via AP

Denmark’s former immigration minister, Inger Stoejberg, has been sentenced to 60 days’ detention for illegally separating couples seeking asylum.

Stoejberg was tried by the Court of Impeachment which met for the first time in 26 years to hear the case, brought over a 2016 order that separated couples under the age of 18.

When she was minister, some 23 couples were separated under her policy before it was halted.

Though the former minister says her motivation was to crack down on child marriage, the court found she had “intentionally or through gross negligence neglected the duties” of her office and provided parliament with “incorrect or misleading information.”

Stoejberg took a hard-right line on immigration while in office from 2015-19, introducing a law in 2016 that saw refugees stripped of valuables such as jewelry so it could be impounded to pay for the cost of their accommodation in Denmark. She has previously been accused of making anti-Muslim statements on several occasions.

The center-left coalition led by the Social Democrats which has controlled the Danish parliament since 2019 voted earlier this year to impeach Stoejberg. An investigating committee convened by the legislature had found the former minister’s policy “clearly illegal” and discovered that she had ignored warnings from her own staff that she was breaking the law.

Decisions from the Court of Impeachment cannot be appealed, leaving no way for the former minister to avoid two months in prison.

This article features content from Morning Star and other sources.