Lawyer wants Netherlands’ last death sentence revisited
Exoneration may still come for Gerrit Jan Pieperiet who was found guilty of murder and became the last man to be hung in the Netherlands.
“This is not something to joke about,” lawyer Robert Kiek told Volkskrant today, disturbed by to Almelo’s annual reenactment of Pieperiet’s March 3 1818 hanging. “It disturbs me that it has become a joyous event, an outing. While in effect, a young innocent father may have been hung.”
The lawyer has formally requested the Supreme Court to reopen the case. In his view there were too many questions left unanswered. Notary Jan Dikkers who Pieperiet supposedly murdered was found in a puddle and Kiek found that authorities then too quickly determined it was not a drowning. “There was no compelling evidence for Pieperiet’s guilt,” he said.
Aside from being reenacted every year, Pieperiet’s case has always been shrouded in uncertainty. Throughout his trial he had remained quiet, only to cry out “I am innocent” at the end. He claimed it was his friend Gerrit Roessing who had killed the notary, but it was in vain; he was strung up.
That his attempt to exonerate Pieperiet comes almost 200 years after the famed hanging does not worry Kiek. “Limitation does not play a crucial role. If someone is put to death undeservedly, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was. It does not diminish the seriousness of the fact that a young father of a young family in the Netherlands received the death penalty undeservedly,” he said.
If the Supreme Court dismisses the request, Kiek wants to request King Willem-Alexander to grant him absolution. He also hopes to hear from any living descendants of Pieperiet’s.