Sunday 18 April 2021

Family of Pim Fortuyn want independent review of killer’s release

Statue of justice.The family of murdered politician Pim Fortuyn have called for his killer to be sent back to court for allegedly breaching the terms of his release.

Volkert van der Graaf was freed in May 2014 under strict conditions, having served two-thirds of an 18-year sentence. Fortuyn was shot dead in a car park in Hilversum as he left a recording studio, nine days before the 2002 general election.

Representatives of Fortuyn’s family told the Volkskrant they disputed the contents of a letter to parliament by justice minister Ard van der Steur, which stated that Van der Graaf had fully complied with the official requirements for the last two years.

Van der Graaf was required to keep in touch with the authorities, undergo psychiatric treatment and banned from contact with Fortuyn’s relatives or the media. His lawyer, Willem Jebbink, said Van der Steur had wrongly implied that his client was receiving intensive psychiatric and practical support.

‘Not co-operating’

Joost Eerdmans, of the Citizens’ Committee Against Injustice (Burgercomité tegen Onrecht) said Jebbink’s reply cast doubt on Van der Steur’s assurances and said the case should be reviewed by an independent judge.

‘We have read Van der Steur’s letter and Jebbink’s response and come to the conclusion that Van der G is not co-operating with his rehabilitation,’ said Eerdmans.

The minister was at the centre of an earlier controversy surrounding a photograph of Van der Graaf which appeared in the Telegraaf shortly after the killer left prison. It later emerged that the justice ministry had set up the picture with the newspaper to prevent a scramble among the media to publish the first photograph.

Richard van der Weide, the lawyer acting for Fortuyn’s family, said Van der Steur had become a ‘party to the case’ and his objectivity could no longer be relied on. ‘The minister has been repeatedly discredited and cannot allow himself any more of this business,’ he said. ‘That is why we want his decision to be reviewed by a judge.’

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