Death threat MP returning to Parliament in 2005

8th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Political chiefs hotly defended on Tuesday the continued absence from the Dutch Parliament of Liberal VVD member Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was forced into hiding after the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last month.

8 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Political chiefs hotly defended on Tuesday the continued absence from the Dutch Parliament of Liberal VVD member Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was forced into hiding after the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last month.

VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen rounded on the "finicky Dutch opinions" of Hirsi Ali's critics, asserting that the Parliament is not the only place where MPs can be involved politically.

Most of the parliament agreed and decided that Hirsi Ali may return to parliament at a time of her choosing. Van Aartsen also assured the Lower House that the outspoken MP will return to normal duties after the Christmas break.

Hirsi Ali recently teamed up with Van Gogh to make the short film "Submission", which cast an accusing eye on domestic violence in the Islamic community. The film is believed to be a prime motive for the filmmaker's 2 November murder in Amsterdam.

A note left plunged into Van Gogh's body with a knife warned that Hirsi Ali was next and the MP immediately went into hiding as security officers closed in around her. The MP is being moved from safe house to safe house and every location is being kept secret.

Meanwhile, Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos also came to the defence of Hirsi Ali, asserting that it was "offensive" to talk about her return to parliament. Lower House chairman Frans Weisglas said any criticism of the Somali-born MP's absence was simply "rude behaviour" evidencing "ignorance".
 
The leader of the small government party Democrat D66, Boris Dittrich, was highly critical of a political cartoon depicting a holidaying Hirsi Ali under an umbrella by the side of the pool. "Scandalous. Someone's safety is being assailed, that is very serious," Dittrich reacted furiously.

Concerns for the safety of right-wing independent MP Geert Wilders — who is also a harsh critic of Islam; calling for a ban on Muslim immigration to the Netherlands — also prevented his appearance in parliament Tuesday.

Wilders has been threatened with death, allegedly by the same suspects accused of planning Hirsi Ali's murder. Police have rounded up at least seven suspects, including two men arrested after a 14-hour stand-off in The Hague on 10 November.

Wilders told evening newspaper NRC Tuesday that he is concerned for his safety in the parliament, where he is seated directly underneath the public gallery. His security officers must officially request a new location in the parliament before he can be moved.
 
But Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said Wilder's safety in parliament is guaranteed and it is his own choice not to appear in parliament. The Christian Democrat CDA minister also said everything possible was being done to ensure Wilder's safety and allow him to continue his work.

Wilders claims that he is encountering problems in establishing his new political party, accusing the Dutch intelligence service AIVD of advising possible candidates against joining his party based on safety concerns. Donner dismissed the claims as "rubbish". No date has been set for Wilders' return to parliament.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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