Dutch crime reporter dies after shooting on July 6

Peter R de Vries (AP)
14:24pm, Thu 15 Jul 2021
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One of the Netherlands’ best-known crime reporters who was shot earlier this month in an attack in Amsterdam has died, according to Dutch media reports.

Peter R de Vries, who was widely lauded for fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld, was shot on July 6 after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show.

RTL, the Dutch network Mr de Vries regularly worked for, cited a family statement as saying: “Peter fought to the end, but was unable to win the battle.”

Peter R de Vries (AP)

The statement said he died surrounded by loved ones.

“Peter has lived by his conviction: ‘On bended knee is no way to be free’,” the statement said.

“We are unbelievably proud of him and at the same time inconsolable.”

Mr de Vries had recently been an adviser and confidant for a witness in the trial of the alleged leader of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine”.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet: “Peter R de Vries was always dedicated, tenacious, afraid of nothing and no-one. Always seeking the truth and standing up for justice.

“And that makes it all the more dramatic that he himself has now become the victim of a great injustice.”

We might disagree with a lot we see in our media, but we have to agree that journalists investigating potential abuses of power are not a threat but an asset to our democracies and our societies

Two suspects – a 21-year-old Dutch man and a 35-year-old Polish man, living in the Netherlands – have been arrested in connection with the shooting. They were detained not long after Mr de Vries was wounded.

Dutch King Willem Alexander last week called the shooting of Mr de Vries “an attack on journalism, the cornerstone of our constitutional state and therefore also an attack on the rule of law”.

The incident also struck a chord elsewhere in Europe, where such events are rare and where the killings of journalists in Slovakia and Malta in recent years have raised concerns about reporters’ safety in developed, democratic societies.

“We might disagree with a lot we see in our media, but we have to agree that journalists investigating potential abuses of power are not a threat but an asset to our democracies and our societies,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last week.

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