The Dutch public prosecutor on Tuesday declared it legal for bikers from the No Surrender gang to continue fighting alongside Kurds in northern Iraq against the Islamic State group.
“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable; now it’s no longer forbidden,” public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told the Agence France-Presse. “You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”
His comments come after reports that Dutch bikers had joined the Kurds in fighting Sunni militants that have gained a stronghold in Iraq and Syria.
Dutch citizens could not, however, join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), because it is labeled a terrorist organization by much of the international community, AFP reported.
Dutch citizens fighting on the Kurdish side will still be subject to prosecution if they committed a crime abroad, Mr. De Bruin said.
“But this is also happening a long way away, and so it’ll be very difficult to prove,” he added.
The Netherlands has been cracking down on citizens trying to join Islamic State fighters, confiscating would-be jihadists’ passports before traveling and threatening prosecution should they return, AFP reported.