Prosecutors in the Netherlands recently outlined their case against Volkert van der Graaf who is charged with murdering Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Van der Graaf is a vegan animal rights activist who as a teenager founded a branch of the Animal Liberation Front and had spent his adult life fighting animal agriculture in court.
In a televised hearing, prosecutors offered what seems like overwhelming evidence of van der Graaf’s guilt. Van der Graaf was seen by multiple witnesses fleeing the scene. When he was caught, there were gun powder stains on his coat and on the latex gloves he was wearing. Ballistics tests of the gun found in his position establish that it was likely the murder weapon, which was strengthened by the fact that blood from Fortuyn was also found on the gun.
A search of van der Graaf’s house turned up maps of the area where Fortuyn was killed as well as evidence that van der Graaf had been accumulating information about Fortuyn’s movements for months.
Police also turned up bomb-making material in van der Graaf’s home. Investigators found sulphuric and hydrochcloric acid, condoms filled witih potassium chloride and sugar, and a timer.
Police also announced they are seeking a second possible suspect. Analysis of the gun turned up not only DNA for Fortuyn and van der Graaf, but also a third man who is known to police and has previously committed a crime. The prosecutor did not identify the man in court, but said it was pursuing the lead to avoid conspiracy theories later (the implication being that police believe that van der Graaf purchased his weapon from a known criminal).
Van der Graaf’s trial is expected to start in about three months.
‘Second figure’ may have been involved in Dutch assassination. Andrew Osborn, The Guardian (London), August 10, 2002.
Accomplice sought in Fortuyn murder. Andrew Osborn, The Guardian (London), August 10, 2002.
Dutch watch case against Fortuyn suspect on live TV. Marie Devine, The Independent (London), August 10, 2002.