‘Dutch translator leaked information to Muslim militants’
AMSTERDAM: A translator at the Dutch AIVD intelligence service is suspected of leaking information to two groups of Muslim militants including one allegedly linked to the killing of a filmmaker, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The authorities arrested a 34-year-old AIVD employee on September 30 on suspicion of betraying state secrets. They held three others on suspicion of distributing the information but they were released last week due to a lack of evidence.
A prosecution spokesman said the main suspect, an interpreter and translator at the AIVD who is now in custody, was suspected of tipping off a group in Utrecht suspected of possessing explosives, possibly for an attack.
The man, identified by the Dutch Volkskrant daily as a Moroccan named Othman Ben A, is also suspected of leaking information to an Amsterdam-based group of Muslim militants linked with the November 2 killing of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.
The murder of Van Gogh, who enraged some Muslims with a film criticising Islam, sparked a surge of sectarian violence, including arson attacks on mosques, churches and religious schools.
Volkskrant said the AIVD employee founded a lobby organisation that worked to counter negative portrayals of Muslims in the media since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The prosecution spokesman declined to comment on the man’s identity.
Dutch authorities are holding seven men in connection with Van Gogh’s murder, including chief suspect Mohammed B, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan. In Spain on Tuesday, a judge accused a Moroccan prison inmate of membership of an Islamic militant group to which Mohammed B allegedly belonged. Dutch media reported the Netherlands handed over an Algerian man with Spanish residence to Spanish authorities last week on suspicion he posed a threat to national security.
The Justice Ministry was not immediately available to comment on the reports, which said the man was among a group of suspects acquitted by a Dutch court in 2003 of allegedly helping to recruit fighters for “holy war”. The case was based on intelligence reports whose credibility could not be verified. reuters