- BBC News World
A famous Dutch crime journalist was seriously injured Tuesday when he was shot several times in a central Amsterdam street.
The police said that Peter R de Vries He was taken to the hospital and he is in serious condition.
The Dutch public broadcaster NOS said he was attacked minutes after appearing on a program.
Videos circulated on social networks in which he is seen on the ground apparently with a head injury.
NOS subpoenaed witnesses who said De Vries was shot five times at close range.
In the past, de Vries already had police protection by receiving threats for being involved in the investigation of criminal cases as a journalist and as an expert in court.
The Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, said the journalist “is fighting for his life” and condemned the shooting as a “cruel attack.”
Police announced that three people have been arrested.
Two suspects were arrested in a car on a highway and a third in the same city of Amsterdam. The perpetrator is believed to be among them.
The Police asked for the help of witnesses and are reviewing the recordings of the street cameras, but also asked that no material about the attack or the victim be shared on social networks.
They also asked the public not to approach a light-skinned suspect with a slim build, dark green camouflage jacket and black cap.
The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said that “free journalism is crucial for society” and acknowledged the anger and sadness with which the Netherlands has responded to the attack.
“We hope and pray that it survives,” the prime minister said.
The Dutch royal family also showed their shock and stressed that “journalists must be able to do their important work freely and without threats.”
The Minister of Justice, Ferd Grapperhaus, honored an “extraordinary journalist” and described De Vries as an “admirable warrior who fights injustice on behalf of the most disadvantaged.”
Popular for his research
De Vries, 64, is a very famous and frequent television commentator due to his investigations against crime in the Netherlands.
As a reporter he has covered numerous famous cases, including the 1983 abduction of the beer magnate. Freddy Heineken.
In 2013, the Heineken captor, Willem Holleeder, was convicted of threatening De Vries.
Holleeder is one of the most famous criminals in the country and was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for being involved in five murders.
NOS said De Vries is routinely the spokesperson or confidant for witnesses in police and court cases.
The channel said it was now advising Nabil B, a witness in the case against Ridouan Taghi, alleged drug dealer.
The Dutch-Moroccan suspect and his associates are now on trial in the Netherlands for murder and drug trafficking.
Until his arrest in Dubai at the end of 2019, Taghi was among the most wanted fugitives in Europe.
A former member of the gang, Nabil B, is considered a key witness in the trial.
The case has already generated consternation in the country after Nabil B’s lawyer, Derk Wiersum, was assassinated in front of his home in Amsterdam in September 2019.
Victim of the crimes he was investigating
Analysis of Ana Holligan, BBC correspondent in The Hague, Netherlands
Peter R de Vries became famous by reporting on the kinds of crimes he was now a victim of.
The attack on his life has not only caused a shock in Dutch society, but in the professions in which he had a key role: journalism and criminal justice.
Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema described De Vries as a “national hero”, “a brave free spirit who sought justice, helped people in trouble and parents of murdered children.”
He immersed himself in his work, and his role in numerous high-profile cases led to repeated calls for his “liquidation” by the underworld.
The Netherlands Bar Association said in a statement that the “brutal attack” has a huge impact on the legal profession.
De Vries is popular on television shows. Last week he launched a funding campaign to try to raise a million euros to help solve a case before the parents of the victim, Tanja Groen, died.
Humberto Tan, a television host, described De Vries as a journalist with a huge heart.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.