Dutch release 12 'terror jet' passengers

25th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 August 2006, AMSTERDAM — Dutch justice officials have released the 12 passengers arrested when the cabin crew of an American plane bound for India thought they were acting suspiciously.

25 August 2006

AMSTERDAM — Dutch justice officials have released the 12 passengers arrested when the cabin crew of an American plane bound for India thought they were acting suspiciously.

The Northwest Airlines flight to Mumbai, with 149 passengers, was escorted back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by two Dutch F-16 fighter jets on Wednesday.

The 12 Indian men were taken into custody and questioned by officials of the Public Prosecution Service (OM). The incident was widely reported in the international media as it came shortly after arrests in Britain over an alleged plot to down passenger planes.

But Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said on Thursday that "to date it does not appear that the (Schiphol) incident was terror-related."

The men were released from the detention centre at the airport later in the evening and moved to a hotel. They left the Netherlands in the early hours of Friday morning.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence they were planning to commit an act of violence and searches of the plane did not find any explosives. The men had reportedly aroused suspicion by fiddling with mobile phones and plastic bags.

Donner said he was happy with the way that procedures were followed after the pilot made his decision to return to Schiphol shortly after takeoff.

The two F-16s that escorted the plane back to the airport could have been given permission by the Justice Minister to shoot the passenger plane down if the situation had demanded it. Such a procedure was never on the cards on Wednesday, stressed Donner.

On the return to Schiphol, kerosene was released over the IJsselmeer Lake to lighten the DC10 for landing.

  • A Dutch representative in India apologised on Friday for the mens' detention, Indian junior foreign affairs minister Anand Sharma said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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