PM attack suspect remains in custody
2 February 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The 33-year-old man suspected of planning a stabbing attack against Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende had his remand custody extended in the Rotterdam Court on Monday.
2 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — The 33-year-old man suspected of planning a stabbing attack against Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende had his remand custody extended in the Rotterdam Court on Monday.
The man appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing, at which time it was confirmed that he had been convicted in September 2001 for a stabbing a few months earlier. He was sentenced to jail and a two-year probation period, news agency ANP reported.
The suspect — identified as A .T., of Zoetermeer — was arrested last October near Balkenende's home in Capelle aan den IJssel. He was carrying a knife at the time, breaching his probation conditions, and was allegedly planning to murder the prime minister and/or his wife.
He is presently undergoing psychiatric examinations in the Pieter Baan Centrum, the judiciary's observation clinic, and the Rotterdam Court resolved to extend his remand detention on Monday, saying it would be a naïve decision to release the man.
T. claims that he went to Capelle aan den IJssel because he had an appointment with Balkenende's wife to discuss things he could do for the prime minister's Christian Democrat CDA party, of which he is a member. He said he was carrying a knife at night on the street for his own protection.
The man's defence lawyer also said his client was not looking for Balkenende, assuming that the prime minister lived in The Hague, and had gone to Capelle aan den IJssel because Bianca Balkenende lived there.
But the prime minister's wife has informed police she did not know T. and had not made any appointment with him. The prosecution also claimed that T. was in fact looking for the prime minister and had written in his diary that he felt the CDA leader had betrayed him.
The judge ruled that the court needed more information about the suspect and his circumstances and dismissed the bail request, due in part to the man's earlier conviction and the seizure of a gun at the suspect's house.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news