THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government launched an investigation Monday into the death of an Iraqi man who took his own life in an asylum-seekers' center.
The investigation comes amid unconfirmed claims by an activist group that the man who died Saturday was a 30-year-old Iraqi who wanted to return home to care for his family, but was frustrated at the length of time it was taking to get his passport back from immigration officials.
A representative of the group, Hope for Refugees, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Justice Ministry spokesman Jean Fransman said he could only confirm that a man took his own life at the asylum-seekers' center in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. Fransman said deputy Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff has ordered an investigation "into all the facts and circumstances" of the man's death.
Jan-Willem Anholts, a spokesman for the organization responsible for housing asylum-seekers, also declined to speculate on the possible reasons for the man's action.
He said other asylum-seekers at the center, a disused prison, reacted angrily to the man's death Saturday and police had to be called to the center to restore calm.
The prison, which can house up to 1,140 people, is one of many locations across the Netherlands being hurriedly pressed into service to accommodate the influx of asylum-seekers over the past year as part of the Europe-wide surge in people fleeing conflict, poverty and oppression in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Last year, a record 59,100 people sought asylum in the Netherlands, more than double the number in 2014.