A 28-year-old Syrian national who threatened police with a knife in the town of Naaldwijk near The Hague in August is now longer being treated as a terrorist suspect, the public prosecution department told judges on Wednesday.
The man, who appeared in court for a procedural hearing, appears to be suffering from psychiatric problems, the public prosecutor said. He was arrested after threatening shoppers near an Albert Heijn supermarket with a knife, but it took warning shots and a police dog to get him under control, the court was told.
And although he was reported to have shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ this is not enough to consider him a terrorist, the prosecution department said.
The man lives in Sweden and was visiting relatives. His brothers say he had been suffering from mental problems for a longer period and earlier that day had threatened to jump off a balcony.
He was remanded in custody pending a full hearing on January 31, when a full psychiatric report will be made available.
This June the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP said that four in 10 of the Syrian nationals granted refugee status in the Netherlands have psychiatric problems.
Their problems largely derive from their experiences while escaping from Syria – some 80% reached the Netherlands by land or by sea and took an average of one year to get here, the SCP report said.
There have been several incidents in the Netherlands involving Syrian refugees this year. On May 5, one man who was known to have serious psychiatric problems stabbed three people near the Hollands Spoor railway station in The Hague.
And later that month, another man was arrested after waving an axe around in Schiedam in Rotterdam.
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