Netherlands tightens security after De Vries shooting
Security measures in the Netherlands were "intensified" after crime reporter Peter R. de Vries was shot in the head in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening, caretaker Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said in a letter to parliament. He did not give any specifics.
On Wednesday, the cabinet spoke with representatives from journalism, the legal profession, and the judiciary, Grapperhaus said. The "safety and resilience of those involved" was a major topic of those conversations. "As you understand, the sadness, indignation and anger are great," he said.
De Vries is currently fighting for his life in hospital. The investigation into his shooting is still ongoing. Two suspects are in custody. The fact that the crime reporter was involved in multiple criminal cases, and was facing threats from multiple sides, makes it harder to pinpoint from which side this attack came from.
One possibility is the drug-centered gang around Ridouan Taghi. De Vries acted as confidant for key witness Nabil B. in the Marengo process around Taghi. The crime reporter previously said that he was on Taghi's hit list, though the criminal denied that.
In 2019, Nabil B.'s first lawyer after he turned key witness, Derk Wiersum, was shot dead in front of his Amsterdam home. Wiersum was the first defense lawyer to become a victim of the violence around the cocaine trade in the Netherlands.
After Wiersum's murder, Grapperhaus declared a war on drugs. The attack on De Vries may be indication that Grapperhaus is losing that war, or at least is not having much effect in it, NRC pointed out.
An inventory by moordatlas.nl showed that there was no decrease in the number of murder and manslaughter cases last year, despite the pandemic keeping people more bound to their homes. Around 115 people were killed by violence in the Netherlands in 2020, in some cases the cause of death is not yet clear. Though the number of assassinations was remarkably low at eight deaths. The police also rounded up a number of cocaine gangs in the past year.
But despite these tactical successes, De Vries being shot in the heart of Amsterdam makes "painfully clear" that this war is far from being won, according to the newspaper.