On-page link, opens in this window 02/08/10 Crime and punishment


There was a preliminary hearing in the Fortuyn murder case yesterday, and it was broadcast live on TV. I saw most of it.

The main evidence as presented by the proscecution was:

Some new evidence that the proscecution presented:

Even when this seems to be an open-and-shut case, the proscecution are taking their time to investigate from every possible angle, especially any accomplices that Van der G. might have had, to prevent JFK-like conspiracy theories from popping up.

If I understand correctly, the defense's argument could be summed up as "Van der G. has been declared guilty already, by high-ranking politicians and others, and this is a violation of his human rights. The defense asked the judges to call a large number of witnesses, former prime minister Wim Kok, current prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and four cabinet ministers among them. The judges reasoned that only parties actually involved in the investigation could have an undue political influence on the proceedings, and refused to call the two prime ministers and the four cabinet ministers, though they agreed to call a number of the other witnesses.

With the camera surveillance the justice department seems to be shooting itself in the foot. Initially the lights in Van der G.'s cell were on constantly, but after protests that this constituted torture this was changed to surveillance with infra-red cameras. Van der G.still considered this a breach of his privacy and went on hunger strike four weeks ago. This means that the camera surveillance, intended to prevent suicide, may eventually have the opposite effect.

Van der G. has signed a statement that when he goes into coma, which might happen in two weeks or so if he continues his hunger strike, he does not wish to be force-fed. There is debate about whether it's legally possible to force-feed in spite of the statement, and whether there will be any doctor willing to do so.
Off-site link, opens in new window BBC: Fortuyn murder hearing opens

More Dutch politics and current events:
On-site link, opens in this window Dutch politics in 2002

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