Public prosecutor is investigating sexual abuse within Jehovah's Witnesses


The public prosecution department has begun a criminal investigation into sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses community after at least five people have made a formal complaint, justice minister Sander Dekker told MPs on Thursday. The complaints are being dealt with by specialised officials in different parts of the country, Dekker said in answer to MPs' questions. Last month, MPs from across the political spectrum called for an investigation after the church said it would not sanction an independent inquiry into dozens of claims of abuse. The church authorities say that measures have been put in place to protect children and very few victims have come forward. However, a foundation set up by victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses has already registered 276 potential cases of abuse. Dekker said last year that the church should look to the example of the Catholic church to dealing with complaints about sexual abuse. In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010. There are some 30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Netherlands.  More >



Arrest after Turkish consultate incident

One person has been arrested in connection with an attack on the Turkish consulate in Amsterdam on Saturday night, news agency ANP reported on Sunday. Objects were thrown at the consulate on Museumplein and there was also a small fire, the Parool said. Some reports suggest a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the building but this has not been confirmed by police. Police have not given any more details about the arrest or possible motives, but have said a warning shot was fired. The person arrested was later said to be a 34-year-old Dutchman.  More >


Two men jailed for icloud nude photo hacks

Statue of justice. Two men have been jailed for 24 and 14 months for their role in an internet network in which nude photos of some 400 Dutch girls were stolen and placed online. Both men were found guilty of hacking girls' websites and stealing photos and videos, and one was found guilty of blackmail and the possession of child pornography. The gang was unmasked in an investigation by RTL Nieuws earlier this year.  The broadcaster said at the time more than 2,000 men and boys were sharing images of the young women, without their consent, in a closed network. ‘More than 30,000 images and videos are sorted under name and town, with links to the victims’ social media profiles,’ RTL said at the time. ‘In a chatroom, naked photos of women that are called “wins” by the boys are named and exchanged like a huge collection of Pokémon cards. On request, girls are hacked to steal explicit photos and videos.’ The two men sentenced on Wednesday, 32-year-old Djuri V from Culemborg and 36-year-old Gary de V from Groningen, had hacked hundreds of icloud accounts by guessing passwords and finding out answers to security questions, the court was told.  More >



Duo who beat up Prague waiter face charges

Two Dutchmen who were involved in beating up a waiter in Prague in April could face jail terms of up to 18 years for attempted murder, according to Czech media, quoted by broadcaster NOS. The charges have been toughed up because medical reports give a better picture of the injuries the man suffered when he was set upon by the group, NOS said. The two, said to be brothers have been held in custody in the Czech capital since the incident. Their victim spent three weeks in hospital. Three of the seven were sent back to the Netherlands with suspended jail terms and a five year ban on returning to the Czech Republic. Two others, including one who is an Amsterdam policeman, were released earlier without charge because they had tried to break up the fight. The men, who were on a stag weekend, reportedly attacked the waiter after he told them they could not drink their own alcohol on the café terrace. The entire incident was captured on surveillance cameras.  More >



Whatsapp users warned about KLM scam

Whatsapp users are being warned to beware of a chain letter doing the rounds which purports to come from airline KLM. The message states that the receiver has won two KLM tickets, if they sent the message on to 15 friends. But in reality, the letter is a way of gathering information about users which is being sold on to dozens of companies for direct mail, broadcaster RTL Nieuws said on Monday. 'Just had two free tickets from KLM, I can't believe it lol,' the message states. 'See if you can get something too.' The message includes a link which appears to come from KLM but in reality is a fake site. After clicking on the link, the user is told they have won two tickets, if they send the message on to 15 friends. To finally collect the prize, the user is then sent to another website where they are asked for their name, address, email and phone number. They also inadvertently give permission to be contacted by a number of companies, including Cashbackkorting.nl, the Plus supermarket group and IdayFly. Not hacked RTL said that people who have fallen for the trick should not worry that they have been hacked and that the scammers behind the mail are out to make money by selling the information they gather. Victims can get off the lists by telling callers that they are not interested and requesting that their information be removed, RTL Nieuws said. TV consumer show Radar first warned about the KLM scam last September and in January this year, there were reports that Ryanair in France was the subject of the same trick. And a similar scam based on free Emirates air tickets was circulating in Britain last year.  More >


'Wilders' security guard was showing off'

A former security guard involved in protecting far right MP Geert Wilders has gone on trial charged with leaking confidential information. However, despite claims to the contrary, Faris K had spoken about his work to various women he knew but did not leak to criminal organisations, the public prosecution department said on Monday, on the first day of the trial. K was observed and his phone and internet tapped for months before he was finally arrested in February, the public prosecutor said. At first it was assumed K was telling criminals about Wilders but this transpired not to be the case, the department said. However, he did tell several women about his work in phone conversations and gave away secret operational  information, the court was told. He not only spoke about where Wilders was living but told female friends about a visit by one of US president Barack Obama's daughters to the Netherlands, in breach of his confidentiality agreement, the department said. K's lawyer Peter Plasman told the court that K used his job to try to impress women. 'It is nothing more than that,' he said. 'In addition, it is open to question about whether this was confidential information. That is in dispute.' K worked for a special security team which checked out locations where politicians like Wilders and members of the royal family would visit. He was not involved with Wilders' personal security detail.  More >



Jehovahs: no access to confession of abuse

Religious sect Jehovah’s Witnesses has refused to hand over documents to the public prosecutor in which an ex-member admits the abuse of a child, also member of the sect at the time, RTL Nieuws reports. Samet G, now 31, was a minor himself when the abuse of his 4 year-old niece started. The abuse continued until she was 14 and was reported to the police in 2015 when the girl and her mother left the Christian sect. A court in Breda last week sentenced G to a 9 months suspended sentence and a fine for the abuse but did not have access to the confession, which dates from 2011. G is appealing against his conviction. Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own internal committees which sit in judgement in cases of sexual abuse and do not involve the police. A record of these proceedings is made and kept. According to RTL, the public prosecutor’s request for a copy of the confession was refused on the grounds that it would compromise the man’s privacy and that, by law, clergymen, or in this case the elders, cannot be forced to reveal what has been told to them in confidence. Although there is doubt among lawyers that the Jehovah’s Witnesses elders can claim this right, the public prosecutor accepted the refusal, RTL writes. The sect also refuses to cooperate in an independent inquiry and, according to minister for legal protection Sander Dekker, it cannot be forced to do so. Abuse survivors According to Reclaimed Voices, an organisation that helps ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses members who were victims of sexual abuse, the minister needs to do much more. ‘If we can’t get the files via the courts we need politicians to act. Someone must force the Jehovah’s Witnesses to hand them over,’ the organisation’s spokesman Frank Huiting told RTL. CDA MP Madeleine van Toorenburg and other MPs have asked the minister to investigate if Jehovah’s Witness have the right to refuse access to documents that might shed light on a criminal case and slated the sect’s ‘culture of silence and cover-ups,’ RTL writes. Jehovah’s Witnesses are being widely accused of silencing victims of sexual abuse within the sect. The Guardian newspaper recently uncovered a case involving at least 100 victims who claim to have been abused.  More >


Crystal meth production up in NL

Dutch drugs gangs are moving increasingly into crystal meth production and police have dismantled 10 laboratories where the drug was being made in the past 10 years, the NRC reported on Thursday. 'A few years ago we found barely any,' a police spokesman told the paper, while one civil servant described 2018 as the turning point. Labs have been busted in Zuidlaren, Oss and Weert among other places and thousands of kilos of raw materials have been confiscated and destroyed, the paper said. On Monday, police found 13 kilos of the drug crystal meth with a street value of €2m in a flat in Rotterdam’s Charlois district. No-one was officially living in the property but police had observed people moving in and out with big bags and decided to raid the premises. They found the drugs in a suitcase along with a gun, bullets and a silencer. A 52-year-old Colombian national who was in the flat at the time was arrested. Export Until now, Dutch drugs gangs have focused on producing amphetamines and ecstasy as well as trading in cocaine. Crystal meth - or methamphetamine - is being mainly produced for export to the Czech republic and eastern parts of Germany, the paper said. The drug is particularly popular in the gay scene and is used for its effects as a potent euphoriant and stimulant as well as aphrodisiac qualities. However, experts say its use is not widespread in the Netherlands.  More >