Ex-terror suspect accused of assault
8 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Freelance photographer Oscar Flos has lodged a police report against acquitted terror suspect, Samir A., who punched him in the head after being released from prison on Wednesday.
8 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Freelance photographer Oscar Flos has lodged a police report against acquitted terror suspect, Samir A., who punched him in the head after being released from prison on Wednesday.
Flos was hit outside the Nieuwegein prison, fell against a parked car and was allegedly unconscious for a few moments. The incident was captured by a photographer with news agency ANP.
Samir A. also allegedly acted in an aggressive manner against a camera crew shortly afterwards. A police spokesman did not rule out the possibility of a second official complaint.
Police are now investigating the incident based on statements from journalists who witnessed the 18-year-old's release from prison. Television footage is also being studied.
If police have sufficient evidence, A. could be re-arrested, newspaper 'Algemeen Dagblad' (AD) reported on Friday. The AD website (ww.ad.nl) shows a series of photographs of the incident.
Due to a lack of evidence, Rotterdam Court acquitted A. on Wednesday of planning terror attacks against the Dutch Parliament and Schiphol Airport. He was released shortly afterwards into the hands of the awaiting Dutch media.
Photographer Flos — who said he suffered a severe headache after the punch — returned to work on Thursday and is full of praise for the fast-acting ANP photographer. "He thinks it is excellent the moment was recorded," Flos' son said.
The Dutch journalists union NVJ said it was unacceptable that Flos had been hit. "The coldblooded action of Samir A. shows absolutely no respect for our society in which media representatives can perform their work freely and unhindered," NVJ secretary Hans Verploeg said.
Meanwhile, political indignation erupted after A's acquittal. Liberal VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali — who has been threatened with death by suspected terrorists — admitted she was alarmed by his release. Several other politicians have publicly lamented his acquittal.
And newspaper 'De Telegraaf' ran a report on Friday claiming that all sections of the population had reacted with unease to A.'s release, claiming it had sparked a flood of telephone calls, emails and faxes to the newspaper.
It quoted a several people criticising court judges, urging protests or condemning Samir A. for the violence committed outside the Nieuwegein prison.
Public broadcaster NCRV said 82 percent of respondents to its opinion programme Standpunt.nl were opposed to the teenager's acquittal. Many people said they wanted to take the law into their own hands.
A.'s arrest was partly responsible for sparking a terror alert the Dutch government issued in July last year. Security was tightened at key installations, but a Justice Ministry spokesman told Expatica on Friday that these measures have recently been reduced.
Nevertheless, the tighter security is still in place, but the spokesman refused to name the locations under closer surveillance. Previous reports indicated that the possible attack targets were in The Hague, Schiphol Airport and the west of the country.
Investigations also continue into the alleged terror network Hofstadgroep, which is accused of planning the murder of top Dutch politicians. A. is suspected of having links with the group.
Mohammed B., the Dutch-Moroccan man arrested for the murder of Theo van Gogh last year, was also allegedly in contact with the Hofstadgroep.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news