Four accused of plotting terror attacks in Holland
13 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch authorities arrested four suspects in July on suspicion they were planning terror attacks in the Netherlands, it was reported Monday.
13 September 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch authorities arrested four suspects in July on suspicion they were planning terror attacks in the Netherlands, it was reported Monday.
The suspects are reportedly a Surinamese Dutch national, a Somali, a Saudi Arabian and a man on unknown nationality, the lawyer of the Dutch suspect said.
The four suspects were arrested on 30 July in Rotterdam and are the same suspects that Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner referred to on Sunday in announcing the arrests.
It was reported at the time that they were arrested in connection with threats against Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and Parliament in The Hague.
The lawyer also said on Monday the suspects have been accused of making video footage of buildings in preparation for terrorist attacks, Radio Netherlands reported.
The news comes after police in Rotterdam arrested an 18-year-old man of Moroccan ancestry at the end of the June on suspicion he was planning a terror attack. His arrest was cause for the government to issue a terror alert on 9 July.
Security was then tightened around several key installations, such as the Defence Ministry in The Hague and the headquarters of the intelligence service AIVD in Leidschendam. Draft legislation has also been drawn up, which gives Donner considerably more powers to combat terrorism.
In announcing the latest arrests on Sunday, Minister Donner would not say how many people were detained, while the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) had said it would reveal how many were arrested in coming days, news agency ANP reported.
The OM refused to release more details both on Sunday and Monday, but a Justice Ministry spokesman has said that there is "no direct link" between the new arrests and the 18-year-old suspect.
That suspect, Samir A., was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a supermarket robbery and police claim they uncovered evidence during a raid on his home that he was planning a bomb attack. The prosecution says officers seized floor plans of possible targets, chemicals and combat equipment.
In the past few months, various reports and evidence have emerged indicating Islamic terrorists are targeting the Netherlands. The indications range from possible targets, internet threats and are also connected to the international war against terror.
The Cabinet decided on Friday to give Minister Donner — who is already the government minister responsible for co-ordinating the fight against terror — authority to "take all necessary measures" in times of emergency.
In practice, this means that Minister Donner can be placed in charge of several government ministries and order evacuations, blockades of roads or the cancellation of train and/or air travel, the government website www.regering.nl said.
And while this decision must still be approved, the minister could gain these powers now by royal decree, at the direct request of the Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, rather than by a vote in parliament. The aim is to improve Dutch anti-terrorism measures.
Donner asserted that existing regulations and laws would be observed. Moreover, he was not being given the right to use every means of action, "because the sky would then be the limit," Donner said.
He will also be responsible for public announcements regarding the colour code used to indicate the seriousness of a terror alert. The system is modelled on that used in the US and will be introduced next year.
Presently, the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the nation's police, is responsible for managing nationwide disasters and terror threats. The Justice Ministry oversees the justice department and the immigration service IND.
The government has also decided to establish a national anti-terror co-ordination centre, NCTb. It will be responsible for gathering and analysing intelligence plus security measures.
In other measures, legislation will be adjusted allowing terror suspects to be held on remand 10 days longer and intelligence services will able to bug telephone conversations based only on indications, rather than direct evidence suspects are planning terror attacks.
The prosecution services will be given authority to obtain information from associations and foundations. In times of direct threats, the OM can also specify an area where preventative searches can be conducted.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + terrorism