Dutch court fines Orthodox Jew for not carrying ID on Shabbat

(JTA) — An Orthodox Jew who for religious reasons failed to produce identifying documents to Dutch police will have to pay a $90 fine, a Dutch appeals court ruled.

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The ruling on Feb. 26 concerned an appeal filed last year to The Hague Appeals Court regarding an Orthodox 42-year-old Jew  from whom a Dutch police officer asked to present his ID on a Saturday in 2011. The man said he did not have his ID with him on the street as required by Dutch law because he was forbidden to carry anything on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

The police officers, who according to the Reformatorisch Dagblad daily suspected the man was connected to an unspecified offense, fined the man the equivalent of $195 but he successfully appealed the fine at a regional administrative court last year, according to the paper.

In his ruling, the regional judge wrote that the religious duties to which the man was bound took precedence over some legal requirements, leading to angry reactions by some lawmakers, including from the Green Left Party. 

This prompted the Dutch prosecutor’s office to take the unusual step of appealing the regional judge’s ruling at The Hague Appeals Court, which is a Dutch Supreme Court. 

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