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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Fortuyn killer beset by doubt
Volkert Van der Graaf
Van der Graaf: Killing would "normally" be reprehensible
The man who has confessed to killing the populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn says he is struggling to decide whether he did right or wrong.

Volkert van der Graaf told a panel of judges at his trial in Amsterdam that Fortuyn's rapid rise was "comparable" to the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s.

On the first day of his trial, last week, the 33-year-old vegan animal rights activist said he saw Fortuyn as a danger to weaker groups in society, including Muslims and asylum seekers.

Every day I see it before me - I see myself shoot, and Fortuyn fall
Volkert van der Graaf
On Monday the court heard a psychiatrists' report which said he was highly intelligent but intolerant, and declared him responsible for his actions.

"The victim simply stood for everything van der Graaf abhorred," the psychiatrists said.

Fortuyn supporters continually interrupted proceedings, booing defence lawyers, chanting Fortuyn's name and hurling insults at the defendant.

Tears

Mr van der Graaf said he "normally would find it reprehensible" to kill somebody.

Asked by the prosecutor whether his action was acceptable, he replied: "I felt then that it was, now I am struggling with that question."

Pim Fortuyn
Pim Fortuyn was shot days before a general election
Fortuyn was shot five times at close range as he left a radio studio in the central town of Hilversum on 6 May, 2002, just 10 days before the Dutch general elections.

Mr van der Graaf said he was constantly reminded of what he did.

"Every day I see it before me," he said.

"I see myself shoot, and Fortuyn fall."

One Fortuyn supporter broke down in tears when judges read Fortuyn's autopsy, which described wounds in his heart, skull, brain, and four punctures in his lungs.

He became convinced... he would do a great service to the weak
Psychiatrists' report
The coroner's report said the initial shot collapsed Fortuyn's left lung and would have been sufficient to kill him.

Fortuyn was a flamboyantly gay academic and journalist, who shook up the world of Dutch politics by calling for an end to immigration and describing Islam as "backward".

Condoms

Mr van der Graaf said on Monday that he had nothing against homosexuals, and had not killed Fortuyn because he was gay.

I have no problem with [the report] - I see myself as accountable for my actions
Volkert van der Graaf
The psychiatrists' report accepted Mr van der Graaf's own of account of his motivation, saying that he was "convinced... he would do a great service to the weak" by killing Fortuyn.

It said he suffered from an obsessive compulsive disorder manifested in "perfectionism and a rigid morality".

Mr van der Graaf told the court he had no problem with the report.

"I see myself as accountable for my actions," he said.

He admitted having more than 30 condoms filled with explosive and a timer device in his attic, but said he never meant to inflict harm with them.

After Fortuyn's killing, his party went on to take second place in the election and a share of seats in a coalition government.

However, infighting within the party brought the government down within months.

The party lost two-thirds of its seats in the ensuing election, in January.




SEE ALSO:
Fortuyn suspect admits murder
27 Mar 03  |  Europe
Fortuyn murder hearing opens
09 Aug 02  |  Europe
Rise and fall of Fortuyn's party
16 Oct 02  |  Europe
Obituary: Pim Fortuyn
06 May 02  |  Europe


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