Expatica news

Man arrested in Flemish racist death threat saga

4 May 2005

BRUSSELS – A 57-year-old man has been arrested for sending racist, threatening letters to a company boss in Flanders, it was reported on Wednesday.

Rik Van Nieuwenhuyse, who runs the ready-meal firm Remmery in Ledegem, has received police protection since November when he started getting letters threatening him and his family for letting Muslim worker Naima Amzil wear a headscarf.

Until now, the police seemed to have found no leads, despite a high-profile campaign to track the criminal down, backed by King Albert II and Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinkx.

But on Wednesday, the Kortrijk magistrate court announced that a man had been arrested and would appear on Friday afternoon in court.

The man, the husband of a woman who works with Amzil, denies sending the seven letters. His DNA and a fingerprint were found on one of the stamps on the letters after workers at the firm were tested by police.

His wife was also questioned by police on Tuesday evening, but she was released without charge.

The magistrate’s court said it did not rule out further arrests in the case, stating investigations were far from over.

Van Nieuwenhuyse, who has backed Amzil ever since the start of the threats, told the press he was relieved that an arrest had finally been made, but disappointed if it turned out that one of his employees had some involvement.

It is hoped that the arrest may put an end to the ordeal of Amzil who resigned for several weeks from her job due to the pressure.

If convicted, the suspect – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – could face between six months to five years in prison and a fine of between EUR 500 and 2,500.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news