Urk coronavirus test center arson suspects said they were paid to set fire
Two persons aged 16 and 21 suspected of setting fire to a GGD coronavirus test site during riots in Urk said they received money to start the fire. A lawyer representing one of the suspects revealed some details about the case during a status hearing at in a Lelystad courtroom on Tuesday, de Stentor reported.
The lawyer of 21-year-old suspect Fokke V., from Urk, says that his client and the 16-year-old co-defendant from Emmeloord have both stated separately that someone offered them money to set the test center on fire. "They are unstable boys who had no plan", he stated.
The attorney argued that the two are scapegoats for the “132 groep”, a group of young men in the area linked to violence and intimidation over the past several years in Urk. The number 132 is believed to refer to the number of years the group’s members were given in suspended prison sentences.
The incident occurred on January 23 during a period of unrest related to the coronavirus measures and the introduction of a mandatory curfew. “A group of rioters disrupted the peace in Urk with behavior that cannot be expressed in words. From throwing stones to destroying police cars and the low point of setting fire to the GGD test site,” police said back then.
The suspect’s lawyer said it was unacceptable the police were not conducting any further investigation. He wanted alleged members of the 132 groep to be called as witnesses in the court case.
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) opposed the hearing of additional witnesses. “There were a lot of people that night who did a lot of wrong things. It is impossible to identify everyone. That does not alter the fact that these men started the fire”, they stated.
The court sided with the OM on that point.
The case of the 16-year-old suspect from Emmeloord is not being held in public due to the suspect's age. The 21-year-old is still awaiting an examination by a psychologist and his case will be further investigated on June 6.