Suspect in Belgian toddler's abduction, death wants to be prosecuted in Netherlands
Dave De K., the 34-year-old Belgian man suspected of involvement in the abduction and killing of 4-year-old Dean Verberckmoes, wants to be tried in the Netherlands. He does not want to be extradited to Belgium, his lawyer Michael Yap said on Tuesday during a hearing at the International Legal Aid Chamber of the court in Amsterdam, NU.nl reports.
The court in Dendermonde asked the Netherlands to surrender De K. so that he could be prosecuted for the Belgian toddler's abduction and death. Both the Dutch and Belgian Public Prosecution Services agreed to this. Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgoz also agreed to hand the prosecution over to Belgium.
But De K.'s counsel argued that the most severe part of this case is in the Netherlands. Dean's body was found near the Neeltje Jans island in Zeeland on January 17. De K. was arrested in the village of Meerkerk in the province of Utrecht earlier that day. Though he is accused of abducting the boy from the Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas.
"After his arrest, Dutch detectives made a complete reconstruction. Trace evidence investigation and autopsy were performed on the deceased child. The Netherlands is responsible for this case. That is how my client sees it," Yap said. The prison in Dendermonde also has substandard access to healthcare for detainees, the lawyer said. De K. already asked for a psychiatrist and psychologist in the prison in Middelburg. He fears that extradition to Belgium "will worsen his situation," Yap said.
De K. did not use his opportunity to speak. "I don't really have anything to add. I'm following my counsel," he said.
The court will rule on February 22. Until then, De K. is detained in the extradition penitentiary in Middelburg.