Dutch fighter pilot arrested for divulging state secrets

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A former Dutch fighter pilot has been arrested in The Hague and was being held on suspicion of divulging "one or more state secrets", a prosecution official said on Thursday.

"He is being suspected of divulging one or more state secrets or to have acted to do so," said prosecution spokeswoman Marianne Goet.

A judge was to decide on Thursday whether the 37-year-old former pilot -- arrested on March 17 -- would remain in custody.

Quoting sources within his unit, Dutch daily tabloid De Telegraaf said the unnamed pilot, a captain, "wanted to do business with an inhabitant of Belarus."

The officer, who flew planes like the F-16, left the air force in 2010, the newspaper said, and then got into financial difficulties.

Goet said an indictment would be made public "more or less a week" before a hearing into the case was to take place on June 9 in The Hague.

"Meanwhile, in the interest of the investigation, we will not disclose anything else," she said.

A former Soviet republic, Belarus gained independence in 1991 and has since 1994 been lead by Alexander Lukashenko, decribed by former US president George W. Bush as the "last dictator in Europe."

© 2011 AFP

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