Man prosecuted over death of six-year-old girl in mower incident

A council employee is being prosecuted over an incident in which a six-year-old girl died after she was run over by a mowing machine. The man was mowing a patch of grass outside a primary school in Kampen when he reversed the machine, not realising the child was standing behind him. The girl was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries she suffered when she fell under the machine, but died a few days later. Several other children witnessed the collision. The operator of the mower was arrested after the incident in September, but the exact charge against him is unknown. The municipality in Kampen said he was fully trained and authorised to use the equipment. Since the tragedy the local authority has introduced new regulations on grass cutting. Schools are given a day's notice before grass is due to be mown, mowing machines have been equipped with rear view cameras and flashing lights, and the municipality has revised its training for machine operators.    More >

Russian campaigners detained at Schiphol

Two Russian human rights campaigners have been detained at Schiphol on their way home from a meeting with activists in Amsterdam. The Dutch border security force (Marechaussee) would not say why the two women had been held, though it denied a report by Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta that they were arrested. De Volkskrant identified the women as Elena Milashina, an investigative journalist with Novaya Gazeta known for her work on the persecution of gay people in Chechnya, and Milana Bakhayeva, who works for human rights organisation Memorial. The pair had been in Amsterdam to discuss the situation of Syrian refugees with other human rights activists. Milashina wrote on her Facebook page that border police stopped Bakhayeva 'because she is Chechen', according to The Moscow Times. She said: “I, who had already passed through [passport] control and was waiting for Milana to be released, was detained for company.” In a later post she alleged that the officers had tried to gain access to her work phone without her permission. The independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper has come under pressure from Moscow for its critical reporting on the Russian government. Milashina briefly had to flee the country in 2017 after she received death threats prompted by her work in Chechnya. The US State Department conferred the International Women of Courage award on her in 2013.  More >

Police say baton use in Groningen 'wrong'

Police in Groningen now say they were wrong to use batons in an effort to move a group of sitting demonstrators protesting about gas extraction last August, but say it was justified in other cases. The organisers of protest, Code Rood, said last year five activists were injured when police moved in because they were sitting too close to the fence next to the tanks. Video footage of police repeatedly hitting a sitting woman caused outrage at the time. 'The demonstrators were too close to the fence but should have been removed in a different way,' Friday's police statement said. In addition, officers had been wrong to use a water spray used to put out fires against the demonstrators. It is not part of the official weaponry available to the police and its use was illegal, the statement said. In total, police say, they received 12 formal complaints about their actions during the week long campaign, focusing on both their presence and the use of violence. 'The large police presence by the camp in Leermans and the area around the Farmsum tank park caused discomfort among locals, business owners and demonstrators and this was never the intention,' the statement said. 'The police presence could have been reduced earlier.  Senior officers have had a personal meeting with everyone who complained and they have all had a written reaction.' Politie slaat hard op actievoerders #Zitactie #rtvnoord — Martin Drent (@martindrent) August 28, 2018   More >