Diplomat not a terrorist, police admit
27 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — An Ethiopian diplomat in The Hague was arrested on suspicion of terrorism earlier this week. Police later freed him and said the incident was a misunderstanding.
27 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — An Ethiopian diplomat in The Hague was arrested on suspicion of terrorism earlier this week. Police later freed him and said the incident was a misunderstanding.
T. Demeke Abebe was thought to be a terrorist moving in to kill MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Plain clothes officers threw him to the ground and handcuffed him and he was held at the police station before being freed.
A police chief said an anonymous telephone caller warned police a bomb attack was about to be carried out against Hirsi Ali. It is not yet known whether the Somali-born MP was in the vicinity of the diplomat at the time.
"My head was pushed against the asphalt. I have injuries and several blue bruises and feel pain in my neck and chest. In addition, I think this incident is a scandal," the consul said.
The 37-year-old Ethiopian — who has lived in the Netherlands since 2001 and has a diplomatic passport — lodged a complaint with the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday, demanding an official apology.
Demeke Abebe said he was walking home from work on Wednesday night on the Laan van Meerdervoort when five to six men tackled him to the ground. "I resisted to protect my bag which had my identification card and bankcard, but I was tackled hard."
A spokesman with the Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the incident and said an explanation is being sought from police. He dismissed as premature any talk of a diplomatic conflict: "We are awaiting an answer from police".
Police stress the consul matched a description of the suspect given to police by the anonymous caller and despite the fact police identified themselves they allege Demeke Abebe refused to show his ID card.
He also allegedly gave incoherent answers, said he had a bomb in his bag and resisted arrest, resulting in his minor injuries, police said. They claim his actions contributed to his arrest.
Demeke Abebe was held for 50 minutes, after which he was freed and taken home. Police deny an apology was given to the diplomat.
Police later arrested two residents of The Hague, aged 44 and 45. They have allegedly confessed to making a false police report.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news