A Dutchman who spent 12 years in jail in Spain after being wrongly convicted of rape has accused the Dutch government of not doing enough to help win his release.
Romano van der Dussen was jailed in 2003 for allegedly attacking three women in the holiday resort of Fuengirola. Last year a court quashed the conviction after DNA evidence identified a British man then living in the area, Mark Dixie, as the real culprit.
According to the NRC, the Dutch embassy in Madrid knew that finger prints and dna left on one of the victims were not from Van der Dussen and informed him of that by letter in 2004.
However, the Dutch authorities did nothing more to help win his release, Van der Dussen told the paper. ‘The Netherlands let them find an innocent man guilty, even though they knew in 2004 that I could never have committed the rape,’ he said.
The foreign affairs ministry has always maintained that Van der Dussen was offered ‘adequate’ help. Foreign minister Bert Koenders told parliament earlier this year that the ministry only knew the dna pointed to another perpetrator in 2010.
Van der Dussen is now suing the Spanish government for €6m in compensation. He told Spanish media earlier this month he is seeking compensation for ‘damage caused by my being wrongly deprived of my freedom.’
He has always maintained his innocence and is continuing to contest the two lesser of robbery and sexual assault which were not overturned by the appeal court.
An autobiography of Van der Dussen titled ‘My Spanish Nightmare’ is expected to be published shortly. He currently lives in Spain with his girlfriend.
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