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Friday, 9 August, 2002, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Fortuyn murder hearing opens
Police arresting Volkert van der Graaf
Van der Graaf was captured minutes after the shooting
Prosecutors have laid out their case against an environmental activist accused of murdering a charismatic Dutch politician.

Volkert van der Graaf was caught with gun powder on his gloves and blood on his trousers just minutes after Pim Fortuyn was shot, prosecutor Koos Plooy told the court.


It was the suspect himself who shot Fortuyn from close range and no one else

Koos Plooy, Prosecutor
Mr van der Graaf, whose case is being broadcast live in the Netherlands, has chosen not to attend his trial. He is following the televised proceedings from his prison cell.

The 33-year-old activist, who is on a hunger strike, has been charged with murder, endangering others and illegally possessing a weapon.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Custody request

Under Dutch law a suspect can be held in pre-trial detention for 103 days before being formerly charged, but because Mr van der Graaf has refused to make a statement to the police the prosecution has asked for more time to wrap up its investigation.

Mr Plooy has asked the three-judge tribunal to extend the defendant's custody without bail for one to three months.

He said the evidence "leads to the conclusion that it was the suspect himself who shot Fortuyn from close range and no one else".

Pim Fortuyn
Fortuyn attracted controversy with his anti-immigration views
Mr van der Graaf's lawyer complained that his client has already been labelled guilty as a result of the publicity surrounding the case, but prosecutors say they have crucial forensic evidence which links him to the murder.

Meanwhile, Mr van der Graaf continues to refuse to eat. For the past month he has only been drinking juice and beverages in protest at round-the-clock camera surveillance in his cell.

Prison officials are monitoring him, as they say they fear he could try to commit suicide.

Mr Fortuyn - known for his contentious views on immigration and Muslims - was shot dead just before elections in the Netherlands in May.

It was the first slaying of a high profile Dutch political figure in 400 years and came just nine days before national elections, in which Fortuyn's party won second place.


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