The decision to include convicted kidnapper and blackmailer Willem Holleeder in the television show College Tour will not turn him into a role model, the programme’s director Carel Kuyl told Nos television on Thursday.
‘He is one of the most talked about criminals of the past decade,’ Kuyl said. ‘But he has never spoken out about why he committed his crimes and how he looks back on them.’
Holleeder was released from jail in January after serving six years of a nine-year sentence for extortion and blackmail. The 53-year-old, who also spent time in jail for kidnapping beer magnate Freddie Heineken, is still considered a suspect in connection with a number of gangland killings.
Politicians have criticised the decision to invite Holleeder to take part, saying it glorifies a master criminal.
‘It will be a business-like, tight and sharp interview and nothing more,’ Kuyl said.
College Tour is a series of high profile television interviews held before an audience of students, who can also ask direct questions. Previous guests have included the Dalai Lama, football pundit and former international Johan Cruyff and South Africa’s archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Holleeder was at the centre of another publicity row in July when weekly magazine Nieuwe Revu invited him to write a column. The magazine has signed up Holleeder to write about his life for six months.
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