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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Fortuyn murder suspect on suicide watch
Police arrest suspect Volkert van der Graaf at the scene of the shooting in Hilversum
Van der Graaf was arrested after the shooting
The man accused of murdering the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn has been placed under medical supervision while on hunger strike at his prison in Amsterdam.

Volkert van der Graaf has refused to eat since Thursday in protest against round-the-clock surveillance in his cell.

The authorities have insisted the measures, which include keeping cell lights on for 24 hours a day, are needed to prevent him from committing suicide.

Pim Fortuyn
Fortuyn's body is to be moved to Italy
Dutch newspapers report that two infrared cameras were installed in his cell on Tuesday, which should allow the lights to be switched off.

But it was not immediately clear whether Mr van der Graaf planned to end his hunger strike.

It is the first time that infrared monitoring has been introduced in the Dutch prison system.

Mr van der Graaf's lawyer, who saw him on Tuesday afternoon, said he was doing well under the circumstances.

She said he thought the authorities were trying to break his resistance by keeping the lights on in his cell.

A Justice Ministry spokeswoman said that medical surveillance was standard procedure.

"His blood pressure, blood sugar level, weight and the likes are checked," she said.

Emergency legislation

The council for criminal justice ruled at the weekend that the constant supervision was illegal, but the justice minister got around the ruling by introducing emergency legislation.

The 32-year-old animal rights activist was arrested after Mr Fortuyn was shot on 6 May and has since refused to make any statement to the authorities.

He is due to appear in court on 9 August when he is expected to be formally charged with murder and the illegal possession of a weapon.

If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Pim Fortuyn's political party will join the coalition government next week.

The murdered politician's body is to be exhumed from a temporary burial site on Friday and flown to Italy for re-burial.


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