Minister wanted to spy on Wilders

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Former foreign minister Maxime Verhagen wanted the secret service to spy on Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to find out more about his anti-Qur'an film , says television broadcaster Human in a reconstruction to be aired on Monday.

Mr Verhagen is currently the minister of economic affairs and deputy prime minister in the cabinet of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte. As foreign minister under Christian Democrat Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Mr Verhagen wanted to find out when the short film would be released and what images would be shown in it.

The Balkenende government was extremely concerned about the response the film would elicit, in particular in Muslim countries and among Muslim communities. Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst, the programme claims, refused to honour Mr Verhagen’s request because she objected to the service spying on an MP.

The makers of the programme say their reconstruction is based on statements made by two former cabinet ministers who wish to remain anonymous. They also say Mr Verhagen suggested banning the film as a precaution and proposed having the Public Prosecutors Office study the legal feasibility of a ban.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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