Genocide suspect 'informer' for Dutch security service

20th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutchman arrested on suspicion of complicity to genocide in Iraq was an informant of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, it has been claimed.

20 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutchman arrested on suspicion of complicity to genocide in Iraq was an informant of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, it has been claimed.

It was first reported by the Dutch media on Friday that Frans van Anraat had been living in a 'safe house' provided by the Dutch Interior Ministry. The police and security services generally use such secret and secure locations to hide important witnesses and other people believed to be at risk of attack or intimidation.

The authorities have not confirmed or denied the report and have not explained why Van Anraat might be under the protection of the Dutch government.

Newspaper De Volkskrant attempted to solve the riddle on Monday by reporting that the AIVD wants information from Van Anraat about Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons programmes in Iraq. Van Anraat lived in Iraq for 13 years and was arrested earlier this month.

Unnamed sources also told the newspaper that Van Anraat's telephone was bugged prior to his arrest in Amsterdam on 6 December. If this is true, this would lend support to claims the AIVD and Dutch justice officials have been actively involved in the suspected illegal chemicals dealer's case.

And six weeks prior to his arrest, Van Anraat was given a passport. This is noteworthy because he had previously been identified as a fugitive from the US authorities. Shortly before his arrest, it became clear, De Volkskrant said, that Van Anraat was about to flee the safe house. His arrest was brought forward one day.

Socialist Party MP Krista van Velzen has called on the government to explain more about the case. She claims there was a serious conflict of interest between the Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry, which oversees the AIVD. "The AIVD wanted to protect him, justice authorities wanted to prosecute him," she said.

Van Anraat, 62, is accused of exporting thousands of tonnes of raw materials used in the production of chemical weapons to Iraq between 1984 and 1998.

The chemical weapons — mustard gas and other nerve agents — were used by the former Iraqi regime in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) and in attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq. Thousands of Iranian soldiers and Iraqi civilians were killed in the attacks. 

US authorities had in the past launched an investigation that indicated the Dutchman was involved in four shipments to Iraq of thiodyglycol (TDG), a substance used to manufacture mustard gas.

On request from the US, he was arrested in January 1989 in Milan, Italy. After two months on remand, he was released pending extradition, but he fled to Iraq, where he stayed until the US-led invasion in March 2003. He then fled to Syria and subsequently to the Netherlands.

The Dutch prosecutor suspects Van Anraat was involved in 36 shipments to Baghdad. He faces maximum sentences of life imprisonment and 20 years respectively for complicity to commit genocide and war crimes.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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