PM 'escapes attack by confused man'

18th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

18 November 2003 AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has reportedly escaped an attack on his life from an allegedly confused man, but despite serious police suspicions a lack of evidence means the suspect could soon be released.The Rotterdam Public Prosecution Office confirmed on Tuesday that police arrested on 27 October a man near the prime minister's house in Capelle aan den IJssel. The man is said to be in a confused state, but there is no indication of terrorist motivations.Based on "vario

18 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has reportedly escaped an attack on his life from an allegedly confused man, but despite serious police suspicions a lack of evidence means the suspect could soon be released.

The Rotterdam Public Prosecution Office confirmed on Tuesday that police arrested on 27 October a man near the prime minister's house in Capelle aan den IJssel. The man is said to be in a confused state, but there is no indication of terrorist motivations.

Based on "various reliable sources", an RTL 4 news report had earlier said on Monday night that the man was in Balkenende's street when he asked a woman for the prime minister's address.

But the woman became suspicious and alerted police, who later arrested the man. It is alleged he was carrying a 20cm long knife and a pistol and ammunition was also reportedly seized at his house.

The man has not confessed, but has been remanded in custody until 7 December. He will undergo further psychiatric assessment, Dutch associated press ANP reported.

Various media reports have also said that because the man's detention has been extended by 30 days, it indicates that authorities have serious suspicions about the suspect.

But the Government Information Service RVD has neither confirmed nor denied the reports of a thwarted attack.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, the prime minister plus personnel from the Defence and Foreign ministries received extra security for a period of time. Previously, the prime minister and cabinet members generally received no security.

But after the murder of political maverick Pim Fortuyn on 6 May 2002 — and revelations that security had not been tightened around the anti-immigration politician in the weeks before his death — the security around the cabinet was temporarily expanded and extended to other leading politicians. Only Balkenende's security remains at the post-Fortuyn murder level.

One of the outcomes though of the work of the Van den Haak Commission — which was set up to investigate the circumstances leading up to Fortuyn's assassination — was the creation of a national security co-ordinator to supervise and assess the personal protection of prominent Dutch figures.

Security around the Lower House of Parliament has also been recently intensified with the creation of new entrances.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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