MPs want clarification on Netherlands' role in Argentinian 'death flights' case against Dutch pilot

Tweede Kamer
The Chairman's seat at the Tweede Kamerphoto: JanKranendonk / DepositPhotos

The VVD, D66 and PvdA want clarification from the government on exactly what role the Netherlands played in the case against former Transavia pilot Julio Poch. After years in custody, the Argentinian-Dutch man was acquitted on Wednesday of involvement in so-called "death flights" during the military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983, ANP reports.

Poch was arrested at the airport in Valencia, Spain on September 2009. He was on his last flight for Transavia before his retirement. His arrest was based on statements by his Dutch colleagues, who claimed that Poch told them that he played a role in the death flights during a dinner on Bali in 2003. Opponents of the dictatorship were tortured and then thrown from aircraft into the ocean on these death flights. The Public Prosecutor in Argentina demanded life in prison against Poch. 

The Netherlands and Argentina do not have an extradition treaty, but Argentina and Spain do. The Netherlands informed both countries about Poch's flight schedule in advance, according to ANP. Poch was arrested in Spain and extradited to Argentina. 

PvdA parliamentarian Attje Kuiken wants to know from Minister Sander Dekker of Legal Protection what role the Dutch Public Prosecutor played in this case. "Would Mr. Poch have been in custody for so long without the previous involvement of Dutch judicial authorities?" Kuiken wants to know, according to the news wire. She wants to know whether the Netherlands was obliged by treaties or laws to share information about Poch's flight schedule with Spain, resulting in his arrest. She also wants to know if Poch returns to the Netherlands, does he still run the risk of being extradited to Argentina if the Argentinian Prosecutor decides to appeal?

D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma asked Minister Halbe Zijlstra of Foreign Affairs what the "consideration and legal ground" was at the time the Netherlands decided to help with Poch's extradition to Argentina. He also wants to know whether Poch is entitled to compensation. And if so, will Zijlstra insist with his Argentinian counterpart that Poch gets it. 

VVD parliamentarian Han ten Broeke wants to know from both Ministers how they look back on the Dutch involvement in the process against Poch, and in particular, his arrest.



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