Timmermans calls attention to arrested plane spotters

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans has asked his colleague from the United Arab Emirates for clarity on the three Dutch plane spotters who have been arrested there, a spokesperson for the ministry said yesterday.  The three plane spotters were accused of espionage last Tuesday.

Timmermans brought up the incident during a discussion with Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the security conference in Munich, which was held in the last few days. The Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Arab Gulf States was aware of the situation, a spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the department will not offer more detail. The accused men will receive consular support and the Ministry will keep the family up to date. The men, who include a 52-year old from Nieuw-Vennep, are avid plane spotters who, according to the family spokesperson, enjoy photographing planes in far-away countries. "It is suspected that they photographed forbidden objects in restricted areas." There is short phone contact from time to time, and a lawyer has has been arranged.