Expatica news

Dutch woman held for ‘deliberate attack on MP’

2 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — Police arrested a “confused” 41-year-old Enschede woman on Thursday night on suspicion she deliberately hit Liberal VVD leader Jozias van Aartsen with her car in The Hague. The former government minister narrowly escaped injury.

Van Aartsen was struck at about midday on Thursday on the public gardens in front of the Hotel Des Indes on the Lange Voorhout. He was ironically participating in a photo session for a news feature about public safety, which is to be published by Elsevier Magazine.

The VVD parliamentary leader was unhurt despite the fact he fell across the bonnet of the car. But his spokesman, Gerald Rensink, suffered a shoulder injury and was treated in hospital.

The suspect tried to escape in her vehicle, but became entangled in city traffic. Bystanders managed to initially detain her, but she eventually escaped. Newspaper De Telegraaf said on Friday she was a lawyer.

The Lange Voorhout — an important street in The Hague — was sealed off and a police helicopter patrolled the skies above as police searched the area on foot.  The woman was arrested in her Enschede home that night.

Current affairs programe Nova said it received emails from the suspect, the first of which was received on Monday. The email was entitled Moordaanslag (Attempted murder), but no politicians were identified by name.

The last sentence of the email said she could no longer live in a nation that treated its population like the Netherlands was doing. “So it will be murder then,” she wrote.

After Van Aartsen was hit by the car, Nova said it received another email from the woman. It said the emails were “confused” and the correspondence was reported to police.

The woman allegedly said in her email that she had traveled to The Hague by train and thereafter hired a car. She saw Van Aartsen when she was at the Hotel Des Indes and thought: “This is the target”. She then hit the MP with her car, the email said.

Eyewitnesses claim the woman was in a confused state and was shouting: “They want to kill me, they want to kill me”, public news service NOS reported.

The photographer working on the Elsevier article, Marco Bakker, claimed the suspect initially had a discussion with a hotel porter. Van Aartsen later demanded to know what the woman was doing after he was knocked down by her car. “What are you doing now?” he asked.

A parliamentary debate with VVD Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm was briefly interrupted to inform MPs of the incident on Thursday, but the discussion was quickly resumed. Zalm said parliament does not yield to violence.

Van Aartsen is the VVD parliamentary leader and previously served as the Agriculture and also the Foreign Affairs Minister during the Labour PvdA, VVD and Democrat D66 coalition government of 1994-2002.

The last attack on a Dutch politician occurred in May 2002 when animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf shot and killed anti-immigrant politician Pim Fortuyn in Hilversum. It was the first political assassination in the Netherlands for about 300 years.

A 33-year-old man was arrested in October 2003 on suspicion he was planning a stabbing attack on Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

The man — identified as A .T., of Zoetermeer — was arrested near the Prime Minister’s home in Capelle aan den IJssel and is currently undergoing a psychiatric assessment pending his court hearing.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news