Prosecutor's anger over release of letters

5th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 November 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam chief public prosecutor Leo de Wit has condemned the decision to release the contents of the letters found plunged with a knife into the body of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the arrested suspect.

5 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam chief public prosecutor Leo de Wit has condemned the decision to release the contents of the letters found plunged with a knife into the body of murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the arrested suspect.

Admitting the cabinet considered the letters were "shocking" and "alarming", Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner released the letters on Thursday in a one-off decision due to the exceptional nature of the crime.

But De Wit countered on Friday that the letters were part of a legal process and should have first been presented to a judge and lawyers before being made public.

The letter left with Van Gogh's body contained a direct threat to anti-Islamic MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Liberal VVD parliamentary leader, Jozias van Aartsen, and Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen was also mentioned in the letter.

But the letter also contained anti-Semitic statements and threatened the Netherlands, Europe and US with destruction. A second letter — found with the suspect — was a suicide note.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street on Tuesday, and a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan suspect was arrested after a shootout with police. Public outrage has engulfed the Netherlands.

Experts claim the style of the letter threatening Hirsi Ali with death indicates that it originates from a radical Muslim organisation with close ties to terror organisations.

Meanwhile, Van Aartsen said the letters indicated that the Netherlands was in the grip of a holy war of Jihad and urged for more intensive surveillance of a greater number of Islamic extremists, requiring an expansion of the intelligence services. At present, the AIVD is monitoring 150 extremists in the Netherlands.

Van Aartsen also said heightened security around more Dutch public figures was necessary. He echoed comments by VVD Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk that violent offenders with dual nationality should forfeit their Dutch passport.

The VVD leader said such a measure would allow Dutch authorities to expel violent criminals from the Netherlands. He said he expects the Cabinet will draw up the necessary legislation.

Other coalition government parties the Christian Democrat CDA and Democrat D66 are demanding tough measures. CDA parliamentary leader Maxime Verhagen said democracy in the Netherlands was being threatened if terrorist roots are allowed to grow.

The Labour PvdA said it was "shocked" by the "insane" letters, with party leader Wouter Bos reaffirming staunch support for Hirsi Ali, freedom of speech and democracy.

Peter Plasman, the lawyer representing Mohammed B., — the suspected murderer of Van Gogh — said he fears that B. will not receive a fair trial, admitting shock at the publication of the letters.

The lawyer understood that the Netherlands wanted to know what was in the letters, but pointed out that he was not allowed to say anything in public in defence of his client. He also accused Donner of breaching regulations by releasing part of the prosecutor's case dossier.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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