Assassination attempt on journalist Peter de Vries: He was active in the largest drug trial in the Netherlands, was clearly threatened, but refused police protection. Now he is fighting for his life.
Amsterdam – The Netherlands is still in a state of shock after the attack on journalist Peter de Vries. The popular crime reporter was shot several times on the street and is in mortal danger. Many people in the country love de Vries, he is a thorn in the side of criminals.
Assassination attempt on journalist de Vries: “Peter is still fighting for his life”
The attack occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening (July 6) when de Vries was leaving a television studio in downtown Amsterdam. He had previously appeared on a talk show. On the second day after the attack, his health remains extremely critical. “Peter is still fighting for his life,” said the boss of the TV station RTL, Peter van der Vorst. “We all pray for a miracle.” The reporter worked for the station.
The 64-year-old has been doing investigative research for years. The reporter became internationally known in 1987 with his bestseller about the kidnapping of the brewer Freddy Heineken. In the past he devoted himself to so-called “cold cases”, ie criminal offenses that have not been clarified for a long time. De Vries thus exposed the murder of a young boy. His current case led him into the Rotterdam drug scene – and is likely to be closely related to the murder attempt on his person. Five shots were fired in the direction of de Vries, one hit him in the head.
“The drug lord said that anyone who interferes in his case will be shot”
De Vries was active in the process of an influential drug lord. He acted as a confidante of the key witness Nabil B. in the so-called Marengo trial, one of the largest drug trials in the Netherlands. Those also accused of murder are responsible for a hub of the European cocaine trade in the port of Rotterdam. The main defendant is the felon Ridouan Taghi. So far, two people have been murdered during the negotiations: the attorney for the key witness and his brother. Now it was apparently supposed to hit de Vries.
Whether the assassination attempt on Peter de Vries is related to the explosive case has yet to be clarified. The former lawyer of Nabil B. is convinced that the process is related to the shots. “Taghi said that anyone who interferes in his case will be shot,” he said according to RTL.
Assassination attempt on Peter de Vries: He was on the “final list”, but refused personal protection
Taghi is the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands, his organization is described by prosecutors as a “well-oiled killing machine”. He knew that de Vries was in danger. The journalist from North Holland said in 2019 that he had been informed by the police and the judiciary that he was on Taghi’s “hit list”. However, he refused personal protection. He wanted to keep his freedom. Journalists in the Netherlands have recently been exposed to increased hatred and hostility. The right-wing populist politician Geert Wilders called them scum.
The investigation is now in full swing. Two men were arrested just hours after the crime. One of them, a 35-year-old Pole from the south-east of the Netherlands, is said to have been arrested for a short time only last week because of threats, reports several media outlets. Both will be brought before the judge on Friday.
Mark Rutte: “This is an attack on freedom of the press”
Mark Rutte, head of government of the Netherlands, was shocked at a press conference in The Hague: “This is an attack on a courageous journalist and thus an attack on freedom of the press.” The Dutch royal couple from Berlin reacted “deeply shocked”. “Journalists must be able to do their important work freely and without threat,” declared King Willem-Alexander and his wife Máxima. The couple is currently paying a state visit to Germany.
International journalists’ associations spoke of an attack on the independence of journalism in Europe and called for unreserved clarification. Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema praised de Vries as a “national hero”. A hero who is currently fighting for his life. (as)