Grapperhaus still pays ex-pilot Julio Poch compensation

Grapperhaus wants to give Poch an amount based on the compensation someone gets for every day of wrongful detention. He wants to double that standard amount for Poch. He also wants to make a contribution to the attorney fees that Poch incurred. Converted this probably comes down to an amount between five and six tons. Grapperhaus spoke of a “unilateral, irrevocable commitment.” With this, the minister wants to take a step to get out of the impasse that had arisen.

The former pilot was suspected in Argentina of involvement in the so-called death flights, in which opponents of the military dictatorship were thrown from planes in the 1980s. In the end, Poch was acquitted.

The Netherlands was not allowed to extradite Poch to Argentina at the time. He was arrested in Spain in 2009 after the Netherlands provided information to authorities about his last flight prior to retirement.

A committee investigating the matter concluded that the Netherlands had done nothing illegal. However, many parties are critical of the findings of this committee headed by Ad Machielse, former Advocate General at the Supreme Court. They have been pushing for full disclosure on this matter for years.

Grapperhaus previously spoke with lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops and Poch himself. This made an impression on the minister, after which he said he had grown towards his decision to compensate from a humanitarian point of view. As far as he was concerned, the talks had not yet ended. However, Knoops has already announced that it will commence proceedings on the merits against the State.

According to his lawyers, Poch is happy with the financial compensation he will receive from the government. He’s going to take a serious look at it.

SP Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen believes that with the commitment “justice has come a step closer.” Attje Kuiken (PvdA) wonders whether this is enough to get out of the impasse. As far as she is concerned, there are still many question marks and the chapter is not yet closed. D66 member Sjoerd Sjoerdsma continues to press for an independent investigation into an alleged attempt to influence the royal family. On Thursday, the House will vote on a motion that aims to make maximum efforts by the government to do justice to the suffering that has arisen.

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