Dutch crime reporter dies after shooting

The Hague (AFP) –


Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was critically wounded after being shot in broad daylight in Amsterdam last week, has died in hospital, Dutch media reports said Thursday.

A prominent investigative reporter and commentator, De Vries, 64, was shot at least five times as he exited a television studio near the Dutch capital's centre nine days ago.

He was rushed to hospital where he had been fighting for his life since.

"Peter fought until the end, but he has lost the battle," his family said in a statement to the RTL commercial broadcaster.

"He was surrounded by the people who loved him when he died," they added, saying funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

De Vries, who first won fame for his inside reporting on the kidnapping of Heineken millionaire Freddy Heineken in 1983, most recently had been involved in a court case against one of the country's most wanted drug barons.

The attack on De Vries sparked wide-spread condemnation, with Europe's top official Charles Michel calling it an "attack against our values."

Two suspects were arrested shortly after the shooting and briefly appeared in court last Friday.

The two men, identified by Dutch media as a Polish national Kamil E. aged 35 and Delano G, 21, will remain in custody for another two weeks, said the Amsterdam District Court.

Police arrested the two suspects in a car near The Hague shortly after the shooting.

Dutch media reports said Kamil E., a Polish citizen living in the small central Dutch town of Maurik, allegedly drove the getaway car, while Delano G., from Rotterdam, is believed to have pulled the trigger.

De Vries often appeared as a commentator or spokesman for families of crime victims, particularly in so-called "cold cases."

Most recently he acted as advisor and confidant of Nabil B., the state's key witness in the case against Ridouan Taghi, described as the country's most wanted criminal.

Taghi's organised crime group has been painted as a "well-oiled killing machine" by prosecutors, and De Vries said in a tweet in 2019 that according to police information he was on Taghi's hit list.

"We are not sure, but we are quite convinced that the attack has to do with the consultative work that Mr. De Vries has done for the key witness in a great mafia case," Thomas Bruning, general secretary of the Dutch Society of Journalists, recently told AFP.

Security around the case is extra-tight as in 2019, Nabil B.'s lawyer Derk Wiersum was gunned down in the street outside his house.