Fmr. PM wants to testify on 1977 train hijacking

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Former Prime Minister Dries van Agt will testify in court about the train hijacking at De Punt in 1977 if he is called to do so, he said on NPO Radio 1 program Dit is de dag. At that time Van Agt was Minister of Justice, and the one who gave the order to put an end to the hostage situation. A total of eight people were killed, two hostages and six hijackers.

The relatives of killed hijackers sued the Dutch State, accusing the State of having the hijackers executed after they were defenseless. Liesbeth Zegveld, who is representing the relatives in this lawsuit, wants to summon former general Henk van den Breemen and Van Agt to testify as witnesses. According to her, Van Agt told the soldiers that the hijackers must not survive.

"You would have given the order: shoot them all, is that right?" Tijs van den Brink asked Van Agt on the radio program. Van Agt responded: "No of course not." Van Agt said he finds it baffling that people would consider him, and other cabinet members, capable of giving such an order. "I almost experience the question as offensive. The idea that we could come to such decisions."

Van Agt would like to testify, if it comes to that, he said. "I would like to, I almost hope I will be called In. Then I will tell the truth. Then I will tell how it really happened."

Next week Wednesday the court will decide whether more information is needed for this trial and whether new witnesses will be summoned, according to NOS. The State lawyers hope that the court will just give a final judgment so that this long ongoing case can finally be brought to an end, according to the broadcaster.