Dutchman jailed for selling N-technology to Pakistan
ALKMAAR: A Dutch businessman was sentenced to a one-year jail term Friday for overseeing the sale of dual-use nuclear technology to Pakistan.
The court convicted Henk Slebos, director of Slebos Research BV, for making four shipments of dual-use equipment to Pakistan between 1999 and 2002. Slebos (62) was also fined $120,000 and put on probation for two years.
Slebos’s company sold the equipment to Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has acknowledged secretly passing on nuclear technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran. Stopping “the spread of weapons of mass destruction is of very large national and international concern,” said Presiding Judge Reinier van Zutphen, reading the court’s ruling. “The court cannot assess how much damage was done by the shipments but that’s irrelevant in this case.”
Slebos had denied violating the letter of the law, though he conceded his company made the shipments. He said he believed Pakistan needed a nuclear capability to establish a regional balance with India. “It was no different between the United States and Russia during the cold war,” he said after the ruling.
The court granted Slebos two weeks to consider an appeal. Slebos said he needed time to think about his next move. “Look, I’ve stopped with the trade business, and I’m moving into other things now,” he said.
He agreed when asked whether he felt singled out for prosecution when hundreds of companies around the world had also delivered equipment to Khan’s laboratories. “I think it stinks a bit of that, yes.” ap