Inger Stojberg, Denmark’s former immigration minister, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for her participation in splitting asylum-seeking couples in which one of the spouses was below the age of 18. In a statement, Denmark’s Court of Impeachment of the Realm declared that Inger Stojberg was found guilty of a purposeful breach of the Ministerial Responsibility Act. Stojberg’s acts were judged to be “illegal” since no exceptions were made and specific instances were not taken into account. Asylum-seeking couples in Denmark must be assessed separately under Danish law. Her actions were said to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Stojberg functioned as immigration minister from 2015 until 2019 and is backed by the far-right Danish People’s Party. Denmark used to have open immigration rules, but Stojberg was a driving force in tightening them. Stojberg’s tough stance on immigration resulted in new limitations, such as a February 2016 order prohibiting married refugees under the age of 18 from being housed with their partners. As a result, in 2016, Stojberg approved the divorce of 23 married couples. These people, some of whom had children, were separated from the rest of the group while their cases were investigated. But, this new strategy was abandoned just a few months later.
Denmark admitted nearly 21,000 refugees who had crossed its borders in 2015. There are now new legislation aimed at reducing the number of asylum applicants to zero. Stojberg’s impeachment proceedings began in September and was Denmark’s first one in 26 years. It was the third time a politician had been ordered to appear before the nation’s 26-judge special court since 1910. The Danish Parliament will now determine whether or not to prohibit the former minister from serving in the legislature.