August 5, 2021

In the Netherlands, the most famous investigative journalist targeted by an attack

Event “Shocking and inconceivable” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: Peter R. de Vries, the most famous investigative journalist, himself said he feared being targeted, before being shot several times on Tuesday July 6, in Amsterdam.

It was 7:30 p.m. near the Leidseplein, right in the center of the capital. Peter R. de Vries, 64, was walking out of a television studio when a man came over to aim him, almost at close range. Transported to hospital, the journalist was, Wednesday morning, between life and death, according to the authorities. Quickly gathering numerous testimonies, the police arrested three suspects on Wednesday evening. One of them was exonerated, the other two – a Rotterdam resident and a Polish national – were brought before a judge.

The event created a considerable shock in the Netherlands. “It is an attack against a courageous journalist and against free journalism, essential for our democracy, our rule of law, our society”, commented Mr. Rutte. “A black day”said Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus. King Willem-Alexander also said “Deeply shocked” and mentioned “An attack on our democratic system”.

Comments commensurate with the place occupied by the journalist in the media space of the Netherlands. He notably presented, for 17 years, on the SBS channel, a flagship program attracting up to 7 million viewers.

« Le pitbull »

A former police officer, Peter R. de Vries has made a specialty of investigating unsolved criminal cases. Called “the pit bull”, he notably helped solve the disappearance of a young boy and the murder of a teenage girl, two cases that the police had abandoned for lack of evidence in the early 2000s. The journalist also became famous in the United States for helping to resolve the murder of a young student who went missing on the island of Aruba in 2005. The American Embassy in The Hague has portrayed her as ” a hero “, Wednesday.

De Vries’ investigations led him to frequent the gang of Willem Holleeder, one of the kingdom’s most famous mobsters, sentenced to life for five murders, in 2019. Holleeder was also the organizer, in 1987 , of the kidnapping of Alfred Heineken, one of the country’s most famous bosses. Peter R. de Vries had become famous by publishing a book recounting the affair, based on the testimony of an executioner who confided in him. This man was liquidated in 2003.

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