Fifth suspect arrested in investigation into threats against the Belgian justice minister

A fifth suspect in the investigation into threats against Belgian Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) has been detained in the Netherlands. This was reported by the Krant van West-Vlaanderen and confirmed by the federal public prosecutor's office. On Wednesday, the Dutch court will consider his surrender to Belgium.

The new suspect was reportedly arrested in the Netherlands recently. Four Dutch nationals were detained near The Hague and handed over to Belgium earlier. The four allegedly tried to kidnap the justice minister at his home in Kortrijk on Thursday, September 22.

The abduction attempt failed after Belgian law enforcement suspected something was going on. A patrol from the local police was sent out to the minister's street. There, the officers checked a suspicious vehicle belonging to the four suspects, who quickly returned to the Netherlands.

The next day, it became clear that this was an attempted kidnapping when their second car was found in the street, containing weapons and speed belts.

On the night of 23 and 24 September, three suspects were arrested in The Hague and Leidschendam. A fourth was arrested a day later in The Hague. The suspects were extradited to Belgium and have been in pre-trial detention ever since.

On September 24, it was announced that the National Crisis Centre had placed minister Van Quickenborne's home in Kortrijk under heightened security because of a possible threat. As a result, Van Quickenborne and his family were taken to a safehouse. 

At the end of September, Van Quickenborne and his family could leave the safehouse, but since December 6, they had to go into hiding again. It is not clear whether the new arrest changes anything about that situation.



© ​ BELGA PHOTO Nicolas Maeterlinck

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