Criminal on the run wants to sue press

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

A dangerous criminal on the run after escaping from jail is going to sue the press for publishing his picture.

The man's lawyer says the photograph published by Dutch media was taken during his client's wedding behind bars and can't be used as it is a private image.

The escape of the man, Saban Baran, who is routinely referred to in the press as a violent and dangerous criminal, caused nationwide consternation.

Whilst serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence for his crimes, trafficking women and forcing them into prostitution,  he was given weekend leave to visit his new born baby. During the visit he absconded and has not been seen since.

Saban married in prison with a former prostitute exploited by him. Police sources suggested to the Telegraaf daily that he married her with a view to getting out of prison.

Beatings
Saban and his brother Hassan were found guilty last year of forcing over 100 women into prostitution. The women were branded with tattoos so everyone who laid eyes on them could see that they were "property of" the brothers. The men also hit the women with baseball bats and forced them to undergo breast enlargement operations.

Sylvia, one of Saban's victims, told RNW, "as soon as we received a customer, Saban or his brother would come inside to take the money, so that I could keep nothing for myself. If we didn't co-operate, they would use violence."

The photograph in question appeared across Dutch media in the immediate aftermath of Baran's escape. The man's lawyer Gerard Spong told the Spits newspaper that there was nothing unusual in his acting on his clients behalf, despite the fact he is on the run,  in regard to the claim about publishing the photo.

The criminal disappeared a week ago - police suspect he may well have returned to his native Turkey.

No home leave in future
As a result of this case, judges will no longer be involved in decisions to allow prisoners out of jail on home leave. The Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin was called to the Lower House today to explain why Saban Baran was allowed out of prison on home leave in spite indications he may be planning to abscond.

The minister told parliament that responsibility for the release of Saban Baran lay first and foremost with the judge. Nevertheless, he thinks the Public Prosecution should have done more to prevent his release. In future it will be the prison governor who decides whether prisoners are entitled to compassionate leave, under direct responsibility of the justice minister. In response, a prison directors' association says, prison directors do not have enough time to consider whether or not prisoners are entitled to compassionate leave.