Where to house a convicted paedophile? How can a golden medal be a bad thing? And what happens if someone uses his profession as a kickboxer or a doctor to hurt someone? Lisanne Oldekamp sums it all up in this week’s Bottom Line for The Netherlands.
Wanted: housing for paedophile
Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad last week revealed the new city of residence of convicted paedophile Benno L. The former swimming instructor, convicted for molesting 57 mentally handicapped children, currently lives in Leiden. Public lists of residency of paedophiles, common practice in the USA, do not exist in The Netherlands. Usually, a paedophile’s place of residence is kept private, in order to prevent exactly what happened in Leiden. Fellow residents have protested loudly on national TV and in protest marches. They fear the safety of their children and demand that L. leaves. The paedophile himself would much rather return to his country of origin, Germany, but the Dutch prosecutor has ruled it too soon for him to leave The Netherlands.
The mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, stands by his decision to provide L. with a place to stay in his city. L. is allowed to stay in Leiden for little over a year, and his release from prison is under strict conditions. The citizens of Leiden demand the departure not only of L., but also of their mayor. Prime-Minister Mark Rutte, calling the issue a ‘devilish dilemma’, recognizes and understands the fears of L.’s neighbors, but underlines the importance of finding housing for pedophiles.
Sochi 2014: Dutch gold rush
With 24 medals, the Dutch delegation to the Olympic Winter games in Sochi has become the most successful team in Dutch history. This post-Olympic week will consist of celebrations, homages and reviews. The success stories of the Dutch speed skating team, which counted for 23 out of the 24 medals, had dictated the media’s headlines – yet, euphoria was also countered by a number of negative aspects to the Wintergames. The pre-Olympic debate on human rights and the heavy Dutch delegation of Prime Minister, King and Queen continued in the first week of ‘Sochi’. As the speed skaters started to win medal after medal, the human rights debate was replaced by criticism on ‘unroyal’ cheering by King Willem Alexander. In his wild years labeled ‘Prince Lager’ and later criticized for hanging out around the Dutch hockey women too much, some now considered his enthusiastic cheering inappropriate and ‘unKinglike’.
As the King left for a royal skiing vacation in Austria, there was the short track coach who wanted to trade in his pupil’s golden medal in speed skating for a bronze one in short track. The stand-by member of the male speed skating pursuit team refused being taken for granted, and with three completely Dutch podia in speed skating, the question rose whether or not speed skating would remain an Olympic sport. Surely, this debate will continue over the coming years, but for now, the focus has returned to the celebration of the speed skaters’ performances.
Skybox 233: a bloody night, a juicy story
Usually, when a guy is beaten up at a dance festival, the events only reach the bylines of a newspaper. But the case of Koen Everink vs. Badr Hari has dominated headlines for a year and a half. The story began in July 2012, when both men attended Sensation White in the Amsterdam ArenA. Kickbox champion Hari and his girlfriend Estelle Cruijff (cousin of the famous football player Johan Cruijff and at that point in a process of divorcing former football star Ruud Gullit) witnessed the festival from their skybox in the stadium. They were joined by a group of friends, including businessman Everink. At one point during the festival, something went terribly wrong. Security camera footage shows Everink falling out the door of the skybox, into the hallway. He was admitted to the hospital and a couple of days later, Hari reported himself to the police.
Over the following few months, several other accusations against the kickboxer were filed. In November, the Amsterdam court ruled that Hari could await the results of his trial in freedom. Within a week after his release however, Hari was arrested again. He had violated several conditions to his release, of which one in specific caused for chuckling reports in Dutch media. Hari was prohibited from entering any bar, restaurant or other catering facility – but had eaten a sandwich in a café. In February 2013, Hari is released again, still awaiting trial, which was delayed due to media reports regarding the case. In an investigation aired by TV show Brandpunt, details of the case were shown – instigating a research by the National Police Internal Investigations Department. It was therefore not until February 21st that the trial was ended. Badr Hari was sentenced with 18 months imprisonment.
Former neurologist Ernst Jansen Steur, convicted for consciously physically and mentally hurting numerous patients, will appeal his sentence. Earlier this month, the court found him guilty of causing a patient’s suicide after Jansen Steur told her she was terminally ill. The former neurologist, who suffered from an addiction to medication, was convicted to three years in prison. Jansen Steur argued that his addiction had caused the many false diagnoses, but the judge ruled that as a physician, he should have noticed the consequences of his addiction.
Jansen Steur was fired from the Dutch hospital he worked for in 2003, after numerous complaints, false diagnoses, unnecessary surgeries and autopsies without consent. Many patients made drastic changes to their lives after being falsely diagnosed with diseases such as MS and Alzheimer’s. Jansen Steur was able to work for several private clinics in Germany from 2006 until 2013, but has signed a declaration to never work in that country again. He is also banned from his profession for life by the Dutch medical board.