Dutch assassin gets 18 years
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2003:
AMSTERDAM–Volkert van der Graaf, 33, who confessed to
killing anti-immigration and pro-fur politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6,
2002, in the first Dutch political assassination since World War II,
was on April 14 sentenced to serve 18 years in prison.
Seeking a life sentence, the prosecution said it would appeal.
Likening the assassination to shooting Adolph Hitler before
he could rise to power, van der Graaf testified that he shot Fortuyn,
54, because he was “a threat to weaker groups in society,”
including asylum-seekers, Muslims, the disabled, and animals.
Fortuyn’s political party, named for himself, gained a substantial
sympathy vote in the first election following the assassination, but
soon self-destructed due to factionalism and fell out of the
governing coalition in late 2002.
Founding the organization Environmental Offensive in 1992,
the militantly vegan van der Graaf “before the assassination worked
up to 80 hours a week litigating against commercial animal farming,
and was described by other activists as a fanatic,” wrote Toby
Sterling of Associated Press.
If van der Graaf is not re-sentenced to prison for life, he
is expected to be eligible for parole in 2014. Dutch courts have
sentenced only 21 people to prison for life since 1945, most of them