GAGA, Netherlands (AP) – Peter R. de Vries, a prominent Dutch journalist who fearlessly wrote about the brutal underworld of the Netherlands and campaigned to breathe new life into cold cases, died at the age of 64 after a brazen assault. his family said Thursday.
“Peter fought to the end, but could not win the battle,” the family said in a statement to Dutch media.
Although the motives behind the shooting of De Vries remain unknown, the July 6 attack on a street in Amsterdam had the characteristics of gang attacks occurring with increasing frequency in the Dutch underworld, which the journalist wrote about.
Two suspects were detained. Dutch police said the shooting suspect is a 21-year-old Dutchman, and a 35-year-old Pole living in the Netherlands is accused of driving to get away. They were arrested shortly after de Vries was wounded.
De Vries quickly grew from a young reporter to the most famous journalist in the Netherlands. He was a support for the families of murdered or missing children, a fighter against injustice and a thorn in the side of gangsters.
“Peter lived by his conviction:“ You can’t free yourself on bent knees, ”the family said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of him and at the same time inconsolable.”
De Vries fought for his life in an Amsterdam hospital after the attack. The statement said he died surrounded by loved ones, and asked for privacy for De Vries’s family and partner to “calmly survive his death.” The funeral was not announced immediately.
Filming took place after De Vries appeared regularly on the current affairs television show. He recently served as an advisor and confidante to a witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of what police called a “greased killing machine.”
The suspected gang leader Riduan Tagi was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai in 2019. He remains in jail while he is brought to trial along with 16 other suspects.
Interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte led the celebration of De Vries in the Netherlands.
“Peter R. de Vries has always been loyal, stubborn, afraid of nothing and no one. Always looking for the truth and upholding justice, ”Rutte said on Twitter. “And this is all the more dramatic since he himself became a victim of great injustice.”
King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands last week called the shooting of De Vries “an attack on journalism, the cornerstone of our constitutional state and therefore also an encroachment on the rule of law.”
So murder resonated in Europewhere killings of reporters are rare, and killings of journalists in Slovakia and Malta in recent years have raised concerns about the safety of reporters in advanced democracies.
“We may disagree with a lot of what we see in our media, but we must agree that journalists investigating potential abuses of power are not a threat, but an asset to our democracies and our societies,” the President of the European Parliament told the European Parliament. Commission by Ursula von der Layen. lawmakers last week.
De Vries won an international Emmy in 2008 for a television show he directed about the disappearance of American teenager Natalie Holloway while she was vacationing on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.
In 2018, acting as a spokesman for the family of an 11-year-old boy who was abused and killed in 1998, De Vries sought advice on the whereabouts of a suspect identified through DNA testing.
“I can’t live with the idea that he won’t be arrested,” De Vries said, seeking help at a televised press conference. “I will not rest until this happens.”
The suspect was arrested a few weeks later in Spain and convicted last year for the death of a boy named Niki Verstappen.
De Vries’s commentary on the murder suspect Nicky summarized the tenacity that was the cornerstone of his career as he reported some of the most high-profile crimes in the Netherlands, including the kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken in 1983.
On a tip, De Vries tracked down one of the kidnappers in Paraguay in 1994.
He befriended another kidnapper, Kor van Hout, who was later shot to death in Amsterdam. Another kidnapper, Willem Hollider, Van Hout’s son-in-law, was convicted in 2019 of inciting the murders of Van Hout and four others. Hollider was sentenced to life in prison.
De Vries was also known for his relentless campaign to find out the truth about the 1994 murder of 23-year-old woman Christelle Ambrosius. Two men from the city where she was killed were convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but De Vries refused to believe their guilt.
They were acquitted in 2002, and in 2008 another person was found guilty of the murder of Ambrose.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus issued a statement calling De Vries “a brave man who lived uncompromisingly.” He would not let criminals intimidate him. “
Grapperhouse said that he “hunted down injustice throughout his life. Thus, he made a huge contribution to our democratic state. He was part of his foundation. “
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