Volkert van der Graaf, jailed for 18 years in 2003 for the murder of populist politician Pim Fortuyn, was released from prison on Friday afternoon, the public prosecution department said.
Van der Graaf has served two-thirds of his sentence without incident and was therefore entitled to early release.
The justice ministry is keeping tight-lipped about where Van der Graaf was taken. Experts have already warned he could be the subject of a manhunt and point to recent demonstrations outside the home of convicted child abuser Benno L.
Murderers used to be able to start a new life on their release, lawyer Willem Anker told the Telegraaf. ‘But that is no longer the case. In a society in which your photo is permanently on the internet and everyone is in contact with everyone else, your sentence really can mean life.’
Pim Fortuyn’s brother Marten said it is right that no-one knows where Van der Graaf is. ‘I do not think people should take the law into their own hands,’ he told broadcaster Nos. ‘If I were him, I would insure I was very far away and unrecognisable.’
The Telegraaf said Van der Graaf will have ‘tailor-made security’ now he has been released in order to guarantee his safety.
The mayor in the town or village were Van der Graaf goes to live will be told about his presence, the Telegraaf said.
A number of conditions have been attached to his release. Van der Graaf must report weekly to his probation officers and is not allowed to visit Rotterdam, Haarlem or Hilversum. He will be given an ankle monitor and be banned from speaking to either Fortuyn’s relatives or the press.
Van der Graaf, 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 at the time.
According to a poll for television programme EenVandaag, 65% of the Dutch do not think the state should organise or pay for Van der Graaf’s security.
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