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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
Call for Fortuyn killer life sentence
Volkert van der Graaf driven to court
Van der Graaf saw Fortuyn as a threat to society
A Dutch prosecutor has asked for a life sentence for the killer of the populist anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn at an appeal court in Amsterdam.

Animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf, 33, confessed to shooting Fortuyn in an assassination that shocked Dutch society in May last year.

He was sentenced to 18 years in jail at his trial in April.

I fell remorse for the suffering I have caused especially the next of kin
Volkert van der Graaf

The prosecution and the defence have both appealed against the sentence on opposite grounds: one say it is too short, the other that it is too long.

Remorse

Prosecutor Inger van Asperen de Boer said Van der Graaf should serve life in prison because the murder was politically motivated and was an assault on freedom of speech.

Pim Fortuyn
Dutch people were stunned by Fortuyn's murder

"It caused a (political) earthquake also felt in other countries," Ms de Boer said in her closing arguments at the end of the three-day appeal hearing.

"Everybody was dazed and upset and they still are."

Van der Graaf's lawyers argued he should get a shorter jail term because life sentences in the Netherlands are usually given to serial killers.

Van der Graaf says he killed Pym Fortuyn because he though he was a threat to the "weaker" groups in society, like immigrants and animals.

Fortuyn's murder, just days before general elections, changed the political landscape in the Netherlands.

His party, the LPF, is now in opposition after being part of the previous coalition.


SEE ALSO:
Fortuyn gunman spared life term
15 Apr 03  |  Europe
Fortuyn party set for comeback
14 Apr 03  |  Europe
Profile: Fortuyn killer
15 Apr 03  |  Europe
Fortuyn killer beset by doubt
31 Mar 03  |  Europe
Rise and fall of Fortuyn's party
16 Oct 02  |  Europe


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