A member of the city council of The Hague has been arrested and accused of planning to carry out a terrorist attack on Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte.
Arnoud Van Doorn protests his innocence. He was arrested on Sunday in the Benoordenhout district of the city, where his mother lives. Van Doorn is a representative of the Muslim Partij van de Eenheid (Unity Party), and has been linked in the past to several minor incidents.
The problem was, on Sunday Mark Rutte was also to be found in the same area. Van Doorn was detained by three security agents of the prime minister who demanded his identity documents. Van Doorn made several phone calls while waiting, including one to the National Coordinator of Security and the Fight against Terrorism (NCTV), and found out he was being held, but was given no reason.
As he sat in a cell at the police cell at Scheveningen, the beach resort adjoining The Hague, he was finally told why he was being held: intent to prepare an attack. The evidence? He had spent the day in Benoordenhout, where Rutte was also present.
“But I visit that square almost every day, because my mother lives there in the old people’s home,” he told the Algemeen Dagblad.
“There is also a terrace on that square where I regularly sit, a supermarket where I regularly do my shopping and a gym. I often see Rutte there without security. Then I just greet him. Sometimes I just sit next to him with a cup of coffee and sometimes stand behind him in the supermarket.”
Van Doorn complains that the security agents could easily have checked his story by calling his mother and even asking the owner of the cafe if he was known there.
“But they never bothered,” he said.
“Instead, I was handcuffed and taken to the police station. There they had nine hours to interrogate me, but they did not do that.”
In the end he spent 32 hours in an isolation cell, for no apparent reason other than being in the same city neighbourhood as the prime minister.
“It’s just pure bullying,” he said.
“They’re after me because I’m critical of the NCTV. They just wanted to take me down now.”
After being interrogated the next day, he was allowed to go. “No apologies, nothing. It was kind of a ‘mistake thanks’, can happen and bye,” he said.