Man accused of threatening Rutte also suspected of fraud; Remanded into custody
The 22-year-old Amsterdam man suspected of threatening caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte may also have committed fraud via WhatsApp. The Public Prosecutor revealed that on Wednesday during his first public hearing in the court in The Hague. Yavuz O. will be questioned more about this possible scam soon, the Prosecutor said.
O. is charged with threats, incitement, and intelligence gathering for a terrorist crime. He threatened to shoot Rutte on a public Telegram channel and was looking for allies to storm parliament with deadly force, among other things. He also talked about "shooting" ministers and the caretaker Prime Minister when he was on his bike. That happened between December last year and July this year. He was also looking for weapons.
The Public Prosecution Service recently shut down the channel called De Bataafse Republiek because of messages threatening politicians. The channels have more than 13,000 members in total.
O. has been in custody since his arrest in the summer and will remain there for the time being, the court ruled. According to the judges, the suspicions against him are strong enough to detain him in the coming period.
Via a video link, O. told the judges that he never intended to type the threats. He was really only looking for friendship, he said. "I've been having a hard time with myself lately. I'm struggling with myself. I shouldn't have handled it this way. I should have sought help." His lawyer added that he was deeply sorry.
The Prosecutor said that O. has suicidal thoughts. Experts will examine him shortly.
The next hearing will be early next year. It will also be a preparatory hearing. The substantive trial is expected to start in March next year.
Reporting by ANP