MEP urges Donner to save expat's life

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — MEP Sarah Ludford urged Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner on Tuesday to intervene to save the life of British expat and convicted murderer Kevin Sweeney, who is on hunger strike in a Dutch jail.

30 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — MEP Sarah Ludford urged Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner on Tuesday to intervene to save the life of British expat and convicted murderer Kevin Sweeney, who is on hunger strike in a Dutch jail.

Ludford last raised Sweeney's condition with Donner in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee on 25 November. She called on Donner to quickly resolve the matter. But Donner said at the time he did not believe the EP was the proper forum to discuss the case.

The British MEP for the Liberal Democrat Party met with Donner a second time on Monday. "As this stalling continues, a man is dying. The onus is urgently on the Dutch authorities to ensure that his legal rights are respected and justice is done for Kevin Sweeney."

"The Justice Minister may not want the case discussed at the European level, but when a British man is dying in a Dutch prison, it is reasonable for a British MEP to ask why," she said in a press release.

Sweeney, 54, was convicted and jailed for 13 years in 2001 for murdering his wife, Suzanne Davies, in a house fire in the southern Dutch town of Steensel in 1995. He had previously been acquitted of the crime.

He has been on a hunger strike intermittently since July in an ongoing campaign to prove his innocence.

But for the victim's mother, Jacqueline Davies, there is no doubt about Sweeney's guilt. "The moment I heard Suzanne had died, I knew without doubt that she was murdered and that he [Sweeney] murdered her. I feel that justice has been done and so does everyone else involved in this case."

Sweeney was recently transferred from Vught Prison to the penitentiary hospital in The Hague because his blood pressure has fallen to dangerously low levels. Sweeney has signed a statement refusing to be force-fed if he slips into unconsciousness.

Claiming he is a victim of a miscarriage of injustice, Sweeney is demanding a review of his case in the Dutch Supreme Court. He claims Dutch authorities have intercepted his mail, obstructed access to legal documents, and denied him the use of a computer.

His lawyer, Sabine Zanker, said on Tuesday that Sweeney is being held in a permanently-lit cell with no television, radio or newspapers. "It is questionable whether this does not amount to inhumane and degrading punishment which is not allowed under the European Convention for Human Rights," she said.

She added that Sweeney expects to die very soon. "He is just trying to settle his affairs," Zanker said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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