Dutch 'horror dentist' can be extradited to France
A rogue Dutch dentist suspected of mutilating dozens of French patients can be extradited to France to stand trial, an Amsterdam court ruled on Friday.
Dubbed the "horror dentist" by the Dutch press, Mark van Nierop was detained in Canada last month and flown back to his native Netherlands where he was arrested under a Paris-issued international warrant.
"A judge has ruled that the Dutch dentist suspected of aggravated assault and fraud may be extradited to France," the Amsterdam regional court said in a statement.
Many of Van Nierop's 2,800 patients suffered disorders ranging from sepsis to broken jaws, according to a French victims' group.
Van Nierop, 50, has challenged the extradition, saying he suffered from "psychological problems" including gender identity issues and had suicidal tendencies which could only be treated in the Netherlands.
The Amsterdam court ruled that Van Nierop's extradition was subject to an assurance that he would receive the same psychiatric treatment and would be detained in a psychiatric care facility.
"Should he be convicted in France he may be able to serve his sentence in the Netherlands," the court added.
Dutch prosecutors are also probing his claim that he killed his second wife in 2006, two years before he was persuaded by an investor to move to the remote rural area of Chateau-Chinon in central France.
- Healthy teeth pulled -Van Nierop was initially welcomed by locals who were sorely lacking in medical services.
But concerns soon started to mount as patients reported broken jaws, recurrent abscesses, septicaemia and healthy teeth being pulled out, French media reported.
Van Nierop has also been charged with fraud over claims he tried to rip off patients and insurance companies.
"He said he carried out 17 treatments on 17 different teeth for my wife in 10 minutes, and charged her for a tooth that had been pulled 10 years earlier," one local, Gerard Martin, told AFP in July.
A group of 120 French victims formed a collective to press charges, and a criminal investigation was opened in May 2013.
But Van Nierop fled in December, forcing French authorities to seek an international warrant for his arrest.
He was finally detained in the small town of Nackawic in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
Unconfirmed reports in Canadian media said Van Nierop tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat at the time of his arrest.
- 'Devastation' -According to Dutch media, Van Nierop had already come under investigation at home over his working practices before resettling in France.
He was eventually suspended for a year in 2013 by a medical disciplinary committee.
A Dutch insurer was appointed to probe patient complaints including a 7,000 euro ($8,600) bill for treating dental cavities in a 17-year-old boy.
Nicole Martin, chairwoman of the group of French victims, told AFP the decision to extradite Van Nierop to France was "excellent news.
""It was my greatest wish," she said, adding that she hoped he would face trial within a year.
"Even if money is paid out, it will never be able to cover all the damage he has done to us.
He has to go to jail," she said.
© 2014 AFP