Dutch journalist seriously injured in Amsterdam

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A Dutch criminal journalist, Peter R. de Vries, was seriously wounded by gunshots Tuesday evening in Amsterdam. The President of the European Council Charles Michel denounced a “crime against journalism and an attack on our values”.

The Netherlands are in shock after the attack on Tuesday, July 6, against a journalist specializing in criminal cases. TV presenter Peter R. de Vries was seriously injured by gunshot wounds in Amsterdam. He had already been the subject of death threats.

“The attack on Peter R. de Vries is shocking and inconceivable, it is an attack on a courageous journalist and therefore an attack on the freedom of the press which is so essential for our democracy and our rule of law”, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague.

“This is a crime against journalism and an attack on our values ​​of democracy and the rule of law. We will continue unabated to defend press freedom,” the President of the Council also tweeted on Wednesday. European, Charles Michel.

64-year-old Peter R. de Vries is a well-known figure in the Netherlands for his role in several criminal cases. He has appeared regularly as a spokesperson for victims or in the close circle of key witnesses. He received several death threats during his career.

“He is fighting to stay alive,” Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam, told a press conference in the Dutch capital.

Three people were arrested, two in a car on a highway and one in Amsterdam, said Frank Paauw, Amsterdam police chief at the same press conference. Among these people is probably the alleged shooter, he added, without giving more information on the arrests or on a possible motive for the crime.

“A dark day for press freedom”

Peter R. de Vries was shot in a street in downtown Amsterdam around 7:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. GMT) as he stepped out of the studio of a talk show he was a guest of . Witnesses heard five gunshots and saw the journalist shot in the head, state television NOS reported.

The Prime Minister as well as the Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, visited the National Agency for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) in The Hague in the evening to “discuss” the case. “It is a dark day, not only for those close to Peter R. de Vries but also for press freedom,” Ferdinand Grapperhaus told reporters.

“We want in the Netherlands that journalists can still conduct any investigation that must be conducted in complete freedom. This freedom has been seriously violated this evening,” he added.

“Journalists in the European Union must be able to investigate crime and corruption without fear for their safety,” said the EU representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an association for the defense of freedom of US-based press. Dutch authorities must “promptly and thoroughly” investigate Peter R. de Vries’ attack in order to “determine if he was targeted for his work” and “to ensure that the attacker and the sponsors are dealing with it. to justice, “Tom Gibson said in a statement.

Reporters Without Borders’ latest world press freedom ranking places the Netherlands in sixth position out of 180 countries in 2021, behind Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Costa Rica.

With AFP