Dutch soldier was abused by Libya
The Libyan authorities physically abused one of the three members of a helicopter crew who were captured after a failed attempt to evacuate two people from the coastal town of Sirte. The abuse took place during a first interrogation, when he was separated from the other two soldiers.
The above information is contained in a letter Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and Defence Minister Hans Hillen sent to parliament on Tuesday. The soldier involved did not mention the abuse until 15 March, a few days after his return to the Netherlands. The letter does not provide details about the abuse. The ministers write that the soldier did not talk about the abuse with his two colleagues to avoid upsetting them.
In their letter, the two ministers also write that the Libyan regime probably had advance information about the evacuation the Dutch navy planned to carry out on 27 February, but how the information was obtained “cannot be stated with any degree of certainty”.
The ministers argue that the speed with which the crew was surrounded and overpowered by 30 armed men points to advance knowledge. What is certain, is that the element of surprise was lost, which was an important part of the plan.
In parliament, the Labour Party, the Socialist Party and the democrat party D66 have expressed annoyance at the ministerial letter. The three opposition parties say the letter does not include any compelling reasons to stage a rescue operation. The Labour Party said it was by sheer luck that no one was seriously injured.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide