Dutch war hero prosecuted over drugs and arms offences

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Dutch war hero Captain Marco Kroon, who was knighted for exceptional bravery in Afghanistan, is to be prosecuted for violating Dutch drugs and arms laws. Captain Kroon has denied all allegations and accusations.

Independent sources quoted by daily De Volkskrant confirmed that the prosecution will go ahead. Captain Kroon risks up to one year in jail if found guilty for these offences, according to the sources. If he is convicted to a longer sentence he will have to hand back his Military William Order. Queen Beatrix knighted the platoon commander last year for bravery shown during six operations in Uruzgan province in 2006.

Pub owner Following his retirement from the army, 40-year-old Mr Kroon is running a pub in his home city of Den Bosch. Earlier this year he told reporters that he had repeatedly discovered traces of drugs use in the toilet room of his pub; he was also offered a piece of space cake cake laced with cannabis by a guest. Mr Kroon said he wanted his pub to be drugs-free and had forcibly removed some visitors who did not want to respect his rules.

Caretaker Defence Minister Eimert van Middelkoop emphasised earlier that Mr Kroon remains innocent until proven guilty, and said that the allegations do not in any way affect the military decoration the captain received. "Nothing can detract from his heroic deeds in Afghanistan. That remains unchanged," the minister said.

The Military William Order is the Netherlands' highest military distinction. Before Mr Kroon's knighthood, the order was last awarded in 1955.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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