Further arrest over killing of Dutch journalist last year

Man (30) set to be extradited from Poland on suspicion of helping plan shooting dead of Peter R de Vries

A fifth new suspect has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack in which Dutch investigative journalist, Peter R de Vries, was shot dead in Amsterdam last year.

The man, a 30-year-old Pole, was arrested in Poland on Monday and, according to the Dutch public prosecutor’s office, is expected to be extradited shortly to the Netherlands, where detectives believe he was involved in planning the killing.

Two men – one alleged to have been the gunman and the other the getaway driver – have already been tried in connection with the shooting and were awaiting judgment in July when the verdict was dramatically delayed and the investigation reopened due to new evidence.

What appears to have been a breakthrough in the investigation came just days before the announcement of that delay when a 27-year-old Polish national, named as Krystian M, was arrested and described by prosecutors as having “directed” the killing.


Criminal underworld

There were three more arrests in quick succession. Two Dutch men, aged 26 and 27, were arrested in Spain and Curacao respectively, accused of filming the killing and uploading it to social media as a warning to anyone who “interfered” in the criminal underworld.

A fourth man, aged 27, was also arrested in Helmond in the south of the Netherlands at around the same time.

It’s understood that the new suspect, the 30-year-old man arrested on Monday, lived in the port city of Rotterdam at the time of the shooting, on July 15th, 2021.

Despite the spate of arrests, there has been controversy over the de Vries murder trial because one of the judges involved in hearing the evidence up to the point where it was apparently completed in July of this year has now moved abroad.

The judge had informed the court administrators and planned her move for after the scheduled end of the trial – which was then unexpectedly delayed by the new evidence.

A replacement judge has since been appointed, but the law requires a retrial, unless all the parties can agree on an alternative outcome, which has not so far emerged because the case is suspended.

The de Vries family has said it’s unhappy with the situation. Spokesman Royce de Vries, the dead journalist’s son and himself a partner in an Amsterdam law practice, described it as “curious” that there had been no reserve judge in the case from the start.

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey is a journalist and broadcaster based in The Hague, where he covers Dutch news and politics plus the work of organisations such as the International Criminal Court