Security guards from RTL Boulevard a week before the fatal attack on Peter R. de Vries, were informed by a witness about a man who behaved suspiciously near the studio where the crime reporter was present. This information was passed on to the police in Amsterdam and the central Netherlands. It is not clear whether this has led to additional security measures.
The report about the suspicious man came from an employee of the parking garage near the studio of Boulevard on Leidseplein in Amsterdam. His story was recorded by two reporters from the German weekly The mirror . Five sources have provided details from his story anonymously NRC confirmed.
The Public Prosecution Service and the police in Amsterdam do not want to comment. The investigation into the two suspects in the murder of Peter R. de Vries, who are due to appear for the first time in a public court hearing in October, also looks at the security of the crime reporter. The Central Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was responsible for his safety because of De Vries’s place of residence, also does not want to answer questions in connection with an ongoing investigation. Attorney Peter Schouten of crown witness Nabil B. believes that the police should have intervened on the basis of the report. De Vries was Nabil B’s confidential adviser.
Recognized as a getaway car driver
On Monday 28 June, Peter R. de Vries was in the Boulevardstudio for an item about the appeal in the criminal case against Willem Holleeder. That evening, an employee of the parking garage where De Vries parked his car when he performed at RTL Boulevard saw a man at the studio and the garage who, in his eyes, behaved suspiciously. He would have followed De Vries and explicitly looked inside the parking garage.
The garage employee told Der Spiegel that after the arrest of two suspects, he recognized the Pole Kamil E. as the one who was hanging out there. E. is seen by the police as the man who, after the assassination attempt, drove the car in which he and the suspected gunman Delano G. fled.
The garage employee passed this information on that evening to security guards who work for the producer at the RTL Boulevard studio. The police were then informed about the sighting. The information also ended up with Peter R. de Vries personally, sources confirm to NRC.
It is unknown whether additional security measures were taken around De Vries or the RTL Boulevard studio after the report of the suspect. On July 6, Peter R. de Vries was shot in the Lange Leidsedwarsstraat. He died on July 15 from his injuries. A spokesperson for RTL Nederland does not want to go into “substantive security measures” in the interest of the ongoing investigation and “the safety of programs and our employees”.
Also read: Police texted Peter R. de Vries in March that there was no reason to protect him
Damage to his car
Sources working for the government and the private sector in personal security state that it is very difficult to assess the value of these types of reports. Certainly with a well-known Dutchman such as Peter R. de Vries, who was frequently approached and checked on the street. De Vries himself accepted this as part of his work. Even after he became an adviser and confidant of Nabil B., the key witness in the criminal case against Ridouan Taghi, De Vries did not want personal security.
Onno de Jong and Peter Schouten, the lawyers of Nabil B., are protected because of their work because their predecessor Derk Wiersum was murdered in September 2019. Despite many discussions about his safety, Peter R. de Vries has refused any form of personal security because it would restrict his freedom of movement too much. A protected person should share their calendar with security guards days in advance so that they can create schedules and do preliminary reconnaissance of locations being visited. That is difficult to do with making last-minute appointments or making arrangements with anonymous sources.
Also read: What if someone doesn’t want security?
According to De Jong and Schouten, De Vries did talk about lighter forms of security, but this has not always been followed up. For example, the crime reporter had an agreement with RTL Boulevard security for a long time that they would bring his car from the Boulevard studio to the parking garage and pick it up. All he had to do was step out of the door. That arrangement was terminated by De Vries himself a few years ago after damage was caused to his car while parking. Since then, he walked himself from the Boulevard studio to the parking garage, a few hundred meters away.
All alarm bells should have gone off
Peter Schouten lawyer
Taghi .’s death list
According to lawyers De Jong and Schouten, after a report in the autumn of 2020 that he would be on a death list from Taghi, De Vries did talk about extra security. According to the lawyers, the judiciary and police stated in March of this year that there was no concrete reason for extra security for Peter R. de Vries.
Peter Schouten wonders what the police have done with the report about the situation around the Boulevard studio. “Given everything that has happened around star witness Nabil B., all alarm bells should have gone off after the report about following De Vries,” says Schouten. “I dare to say that there was sufficient reason to systematically observe the surroundings of De Vries for the detection of suspects who were mapping his corridors.”
According to Schouten, this information should also be included in the investigation announced by Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus (CDA). He has set up a committee headed by former top civil servant Tjibbe Joustra. Lawyers De Jong and Schouten are critical of the minister’s approach, partly because they do not consider Joustra to be independent. Joustra was one of the founders of the NCTV, the organization responsible for threat analyzes that form the basis of decisions about personal security.