Acquitted 'death flights' pilot may sue Dutch State: lawyer

After his acquittal by the Argentinian court on Wednesday, former Transavia pilot Julio Poch is considering suing the Dutch and Argentinian States, his lawyer Geert Jan Knoops said to the Volkskrant. Poch was acquitted of involvement in so-called death flights during the military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. He was arrested in Spain in 2009 after a tip from the Dutch judiciary and extradited to Argentina, where he spent eight years in custody before his acquittal.

"When Poch is in the Netherlands, we will calmly think about the next steps", Knoops said to the newspaper. "It is very likely that we will sue the Dutch state for the injustice done to Julio. We will also look at the possibilities in Argentina."

Poch will stay in Argentina for a wile yet. He has to get a passport before he can travel to the Netherlands, his Argentinian lawyer Gerardo Ibanez said to the newspaper. 

The Public Prosecutor in Argentina is appealing against the acquittal, NOS reports. The appeal trial is expected to start in 2019. 

The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security is confident that it can win if Poch files a lawsuit, according to the broadcaster. "The Netherlands complied with international obligations. What happened in Argentina is the responsibility of the Argentinian government", Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said, according to NOS.

The VVD, PvdA and D66 asked the government for clarity on what role the Netherlands played in the process against Poch. 


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