A major dispute has arisen between lawyers, the public prosecution department and justice ministry over 2014 photographs of Volkert van der Graaf, who served 12 years in jail for killing populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002.
In June 2014, the Telegraaf carried a photograph of Van der Graaf visiting his lawyer on the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. The paper said its photographer had come across Van der Graaf by chance and that he agreed to be photographed.
However, current affairs show Brandpunt reported on Sunday that the photography session had been staged and that his lawyer Stijn Franken had himself sought contact with the photographer about the picture.
Van der Graaf is banned from talking to the press under the terms of his early release from jail. Photographs are only allowed with the agreement of the probation department and the department told Brandpunt it had not given permission.
MPs immediately called on the public prosecution department to intervene. Van der Graaf faces six more years in jail if he breaks the terms of his probation.
The public prosecutor said on Tuesday it was only told about the photos one day before publication. Justice minister Ard van der Steur made the same claim in parliament later in the day.
However Franken, who is no longer Van der Graaf’s lawyer, has now broken his silence. He says the ministry, police and probation officers had been aware for two months that photographs were being taken and that the ministry had pressed for the staged photo op to go ahead. This was to take the heat out of the media frenzy to get the first picture of Fortuyn’s killer, Franken said.
Franken said that everyone involved with Van der Graaf and his personal safety were aware he would be photographed for ‘some time’. ‘There was detailed discussion,’ the lawyer said. According to the Volkskrant, emails prove Franken’s claim.
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