The man jailed for 18 years for murdering right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn in 2003 is now eligible for short-term parole, the criminal law council said on Wednesday.
Volkert van der Graaff, a militant animal rights activist, shot Fortuyn dead in a car park in Hilversum shortly before the 2003 general election. Fortuyn’s LPF party was riding high in the polls.
Two previous applications for parole made by Van der Graaff were rejected by his prison governor. Van der Graaff took the issue to court and has now been granted leave to apply.
Junior justice minister Fred Teeven has until October 14 to decide if Van der Graaf should be released for short periods as part of efforts to ease him back into society.
The council said in its ruling that while it agreed Van der Graaff’s release may be disruptive, short-term leave is ‘the best way to prepare people for their return to society and to prepare society for their eventual return.’
Teeven and prime minister Mark Rutte said earlier parole for Van der Graaff is ‘unthinkable’.
Van der Graaff will be eligible for early release in May 2014 if he completes two-thirds of his sentence without incident.
In 2007, Van der Graaff was allowed out of prison for 30 minutes to say goodbye to his dead grandmother, Nos television reported.
Fortuyn’s family said in a reaction they expect Teeven to keep his word and try to prevent Van der Graaff from being allowed out.
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