Manslaughter charge over thief’s death
20 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — The 43-year-old woman who reversed her car into a thief who snatched her handbag earlier this week faces a manslaughter charge, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Germaine C., a mother-of-two, is due to appear in court on Thursday when she is expected to be remanded in custody as the police investigation into the incident continues.
The police have said the death seems to have been the result of a “tragic accident”.
But the public prosecutor has decided that the woman should be charged with manslaughter because she took an “unacceptable risk” in the manner she reversed her car.
Ali el B., a 19-year-old man of Moroccan descent, was killed when the car crushed against a tree on the Derde Oosterparkstraat in the east on Amsterdam early on Monday night.
Moments earlier El B. and an accomplice, 18, had allegedly snatched the woman’s bag from her car. The accomplice escaped from the scene of the crime, but reported to police on Wednesday night.
The woman, according to her lawyer, has denied she intended to hit them with her car. She has claimed she reversed her car to follow the thieves to tell them there was nothing of value in the bag and to ask them to give it back.
C. has said she was not immediately aware she had hit the man and was preparing to follow his alleged accomplice when she noticed El B.’s body.
Some locals do not believe her protestations of innocence. On the night of the accident, young men gathered at the scene and started shouting the incident was “murder”.
Speaking in Arabic, a local woman at the scene told a television reporter on Wednesday that the dead man had never done anything wrong and was the victim of injustice.
A youth also told RTL News that efforts were being made to gather native Dutch and immigrant residents together to commemorate El B.’s death in a silent march, asserting that the victim was not a “dog” and deserved to be remembered.
Chart-topping rapper Ali B., who is also of Moroccan descent, also attended a gathering at the scene of the accident on Wednesday to appeal for calm and to pray to Allah, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
The incident occurred only 50m from where filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on 2 November 2004. Mohammed B., a 26-year-old man with Dutch and Moroccan nationality, has been arrested for the murder.
A letter pinned to Van Gogh’s body with a knife stated he had been killed for criticising Islam. Van Gogh and MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali had just released a short film “Submission” that suggested the Koran sanctioned domestic violence and oppression of women. The letter also threatened Hirsi Ali that she was next.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news