Secrecy oath 'thwarting' trial over AIVD leak

24th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The lawyer for an interpreter employed by the Dutch security service AIVD will ask the man be discharged of his oath of secrecy in order to defend him against allegations he released State secrets to suspected terrorists.

24 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The lawyer for an interpreter employed by the Dutch security service AIVD will ask the man be discharged of his oath of secrecy in order to defend him against allegations he released State secrets to suspected terrorists.

Outman Ben A. is accused of leaking confidential information and his defence lawyers requested Rotterdam Court on 10 January — the date of the first pre-trial hearing — to consider the legal web that the defence was ensnared in.

"The AIVD maintains a broad definition of a state secret. As a result, I am not allowed to discuss the nature of his work with my client. He would be committing a crime by giving me the information and I would be face prosecution because I had provoked that," lawyer Michiel Pestman argued.

Pestman has petitioned the court to remove the risk of prosecution, but the public prosecutor in the case opposes the request, news agency ANP reported on Monday. Pestman is also requesting Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Interior Minister Johan Remkes discharge Ben A. of his oath to secrecy.

The court indicated on Monday that the defence must submit a request to the judge to use confidential information. The judge must then decide whether to not to allow the evidence.

The 34-year-old Ben A. was arrested on 30 September in the AIVD headquarters in Leidschendam. Employed as an audio editor and interpreter in the Islamic Terrorism Centre, the Dutchman is accused of leaking state secrets to Islamic extremists over a period of up to a year.

In particular, he is suspected of leaking information to the house-mate of the man accused of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh last November. Murder suspect Mohammed B. and house-mate Achmed H. are allegedly members of the suspected terror network Main City Group (Hofstadgroep).

The hearing in Rotterdam Court was adjourned on Monday until the Dutch government decides whether Ben A. may be allowed to breach his oath of secrecy.

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor has reportedly accused the AIVD of withholding information in investigations into suspected Islamic extremists, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

The prosecutor is involved in four large-scale cases based on tips from the AIVD, but the security service is refusing to provide almost any information. The AIVD is also withholding state secrets from investigators.

The AIVD, for example, is refusing to supply information about Ben A.'s personnel and screening record. If the AIVD does not surrender any information about the case, the trial is likely to become stranded and by implication, end in acquittal.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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