Grapperhaus does not want to say what he thinks of the way in which the Public Prosecution Service (OM) acted in 2008. “I am not making statements about a current case.” The interview report from which the disguised extradition is apparent was a reason for him to inform the Lower House immediately. “Because it is a new piece, I have also had contact with Poch to talk to each other and we will do that too.”
The minister does not want to say whether compensation for damages resulting from the unveiling is appropriate and how high it should be. “We are going to discuss where we are, you owe it to everyone in such a situation.”
Covert hare path through Spain
This week it was announced that the Public Prosecution Service proposed to have Poch arrested in “a third country” because the Netherlands itself had no extradition treaty with Argentina. Poch prosecuted that country for carrying out ‘flights of death’, as a result of which the former pilot ended up in prison for eight years. These were flights where opponents of the regime were thrown out of planes. He was acquitted after a lengthy trial in December 2017. The State denied having anything to do with Poch’s arrest in Spain for years, and his extradition to Argentina.
Now it appears from a document that Minister Grapperhaus sent to the Chamber that the State was in fact responsible for the disguised extradition of the pilot to the country with which the Netherlands itself had no extradition treaty. A representative of the OM suggested that Poch should be arrested in another country. According to his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops, it would be a good idea for the minister to give Poch, who is almost 70, “a few good years by agreeing a compensation arrangement with him.”
Initiative came from State
Attorneys Geert-Jan and Carry Knoops had been convinced for years, but the State denied any involvement. Also during witness hearings at the court in Rotterdam with which Poch hopes to substantiate his claim of 5 million euros, it was repeatedly repeated: the State was only indirectly involved in the Poch case.
It must have crackled in the department when Minister Grapperhaus only heard from his officials on 31 January that things were different: that the State was not only very involved, but even took the initiative. “This shows that we have always been right and that the Netherlands bears the greatest responsibility for the drama,” says lawyer Knoops.