Pro Piet highway blockade demonstrators to appear in court in October


Greetings card showing Sinterklaas with Zwarte Piet in silhouette.

The trial of 34 people involved in blocking a motorway to prevent anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators reaching the Frisian town of Dokkum will take place in October, judges said at a pre-trial hearing on Friday. The public prosecution department says the Piet supporters put road safety at risk by blocking off the motorway with cars and other vehicles. In addition, they prevented others from making use of their legal right to demonstrate, the department said. The 34 people, aged between 20 and 16, stopped buses carrying some 120 demonstrators by braking in front of them on the highway, forcing all traffic to a halt. The action led to the demonstration being cancelled by the mayor on public order grounds even though the demonstrators had been given a licence to protest during the arrival of Sinterklaas. No-one was arrested during the stand-off.  More >



Three arrested in Delft attacks probe

Three people have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigation into a string of violent incidents in Delft. The arrests were made on Tuesday night and two homes in the region were also searched, local media reported. The three suspects are being held in isolation, meaning they can only communicate with their lawyers and police have released no more details about the arrests. The latest incidents took place around 4.30am on Tuesday morning. ‘I heard one burst of automatic gun fire followed by what I think was a scooter drive away,’ one witness told DutchNews.nl. Two properties – a clothing shop and a café on the Molslaan and Beestenmarkt – were hit by gunfire in two separate shootings. On May 8, coffee shop The Future and a tanning studio on the Peperstraat in Delft were shot at in a similar attack. On May 17, The Future was also targeted in a hand grenade attack, as was a second coffee shop called The Game Delft mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt has closed the businesses for two weeks while the the investigation continues.  More >


DNA data bank is missing 21,000 profiles

The dna profiles of some 21,000 people convicted of serious crimes are not included in the national crime dna bank, according to research by current affairs programme Nieuwsuur. Since 2005, everyone convicted of a crime punishable by four years or more in jail in the Netherlands must give a dna sample after their conviction. This is kept on the data base for 20 years. The situation has worsened considerably since 2016, when the failure to collect dna samples was last in the public eye and 10,000 people were said to be missing from the data bank. ‘People who are convicted of one crime have often offended more than once,’ law psychologist Peter van Koppen told Nieuwsuur. ‘That means that if you have their dna, you have a greater chance of solving other crimes.’ One of the reasons so many people are not included in the data bank is that they failed to show up for an appointment to have their dna taken Nevertheless, the dna bank has the details of more than 200,000 people, plus unknown samples taken at crime scenes. Samples Van Koppen said the problem could be solved if dna samples were taken when a suspect is arrested, alongside finger prints and a photo. If the person is convicted, the sample would then be sent to the data bank. However, that will require a change in the law. The justice ministry said in a reaction to the report that all organisations involved in dealing with crime are involved in trying to improve the situation. Officials are currently analysing the new figures, the ministry said.  More >



Mother on trial for killing daughter, 8

A gavel in a courtroom. The mother of an eight-year-old girl who fell to her death from a tower block has gone on trial for killing her following a campaign by her father to reopen the case. Police initially concluded there was no evidence that the girl, named only as Sharleyne, had been the victim of a crime when she fell from the 10th-floor balcony in Hoogeveen three years ago. But her father, Victor Remouchamps, told NOS he was immediately suspicious because just a few weeks earlier he had warned youth care services that she was in danger and implored them to remove her from the house. 'And then she was found at 1.30 in the morning beneath the flats. Dead, with a teddy bear beside her.' After the couple separated in 2011 Sharleyne's mother, Hélène J. was reported to social services for alcohol abuse, neglect and domestic violence and relied on family support workers. Remouchamps spent hundreds of hours going over files and contacting experts to gather evidence against J., who he believes tried to strangle the girl before pushing her off the balcony. 'The justice officials told me at first that my eight-year-old daughter might have committed suicide,' he said. 'When I read the files later I was enraged. There were no signs she had climbed over the railing or out of the window, and there were indications that evidence in her bedroom had been staged.' Remouchamps took his case to the court of appeal, which ordered the prosecution service to reopen the investigation. Two years after Sharleyne's death, Heleen J. was arrested and named as a suspect for the murder or manslaughter of her daughter. J., 38, told the district court in Assen on Wednesday that she first knew something was wrong when she went into her daughter's bedroom in the early hours of June 7 and saw the window open. Her father said his determination to had taken over his life. 'This has cost me my job and my career, but it was either one or the other. The only thing I want is to restore her name. Justice.'  More >



Police investigate new shootings in Delft

Police in Delft are investigating a string of violent incidents in the city, but say they do not yet know if the attacks are connected. The latest incidents took place around 4.30am on Tuesday morning. ‘I heard one burst of automatic gun fire followed by what I think was a scooter drive away,’ one witness told DutchNews.nl. ‘I called the police and they came, put up privacy sheets and took pictures.’ Police say two properties – a clothing shop and a café on the Molslaan and Beestenmarkt – were hit by gunfire in two separate shootings. Shops in the neighbourhood remain closed and several streets have been closed off while the investigation continues. Delft mayor Marja van Bijsterveldt has visited the scene and has been talking to shop owners and officials, Delft city council said. Tuesday morning's shootings are similar to two other attacks in the city last month. On May 8, coffee shop The Future and a tanning studio on the Peperstraat in Delft were shot at in a similar attack. On May 17, The Future was also targeted in a hand grenade attack, as was a second coffee shop called The Game. According to local media, both coffee shops have the same owner. In April, a 55-year-old Iranian national narrowly avoided an attempt on his life when a gunman opened fire as he stepped out of his car. The Telegraaf said last month that The Hague police were investigating if there was a link between that attempt and a string of other gangland killings in the region which are thought to be the work of a Turkish drugs gang.  More >


Orchid smugglers arrested aat Schiphol

A couple from Peru were arrested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport last week after trying to smuggle 440 protected orchids into the country, the Parool reported on Monday. The 49-year-old man and 37-year-old woman had stuffed the plants into three suitcases and a sports bag. They were apparently on their way from Peru to Germany. The man has been remanded in custody for two weeks and the woman ordered to appear before magistrates in August. The orchids have been placed in a special quarantine greenhouse for exotic plants.   More >



3 arrested for refugee centre stabbings

Three people were arrested in two separate stabbing incidents at refugee centres in the Netherlands this weekend. All three youngsters who were arrested and the two victims are residents. In the first incident, at a refugee centre in Velp, Noord-Brabant, two young men aged 17 and 26 were arrested after another youth was stabbed and taken to hospital with serious injuries. According to a police statement, the victim may have been attacked by several people and more arrests may follow. The second case took place in Middelburg in Zeeland on Sunday evening. One person was injured and one arrested but police have not released more details.   More >