Prosecutor to push fake bomb case against Dutch journo
The Public Prosecutor (OM) in the Netherlands plans to move forward with a case against RTL Boulevard presenter Alberto Stegeman, who is accused of sneaking past security on a military site and leaving a fake bomb in its mess hall. Stegeman defended the action, for his show Undercover in Nederland, saying that the entire act was critical to demonstrating lax security at the Oldebroek barracks in the province of Gelderland.
“It was our third report on the abuses at the Ministry of Defense,” Stegeman told RTL Boulevard.
The incident happened last August, when Stegeman and a show staffer accessed the camp repeatedly without an access pass as required, the prosecutor said. They were also able to easily walk around without issue.
At one point, Stegeman “left an attaché case with a fake bomb in the dining room of the camp. This fake bomb had characteristics of an ‘Improvised Explosive Device’ (IED),” the prosecutor said.
An explosives disposal team was brought in after the briefcase was found, and they confirmed there was no real danger.
“It was a far-reaching action, but we felt it was necessary to shake up the Defense [ministry] and the authorities. On the one hand because you can place a bomb without being stopped, and on the other because they still didn’t know who was responsible for it a week after the installation,” Stegeman said.
The OM said in a statement it believes Stegeman to be guilty of two offenses, including entering the base, and for leaving behind an object that caused fear of explosion. The OM does not plan to prosecute a case with regard to entering the base due to the public interest in demonstrating security flaws.
“However, by leaving the suitcase with the fake bomb, the accused - in the opinion of the OM - has crossed the border of journalistic exception. Leaving the suitcase in question served no justifiable social interest,” the OM said in a statement.
Stegeman “looks forward to the case with full confidence,” according to Nu.nl.