A politician in the Netherlands was arrested for acting suspiciously and, according to his lawyer, “plotting to kill” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Arnoud van Doorn, was picked up but released without charges on Monday, Politico reports. Van Doorn says he was in the same neighborhood in the Hague—the city where the Dutch seat of government is—as Rutte because he was having a coffee before going to his mother’s place to give her cat medicine. He told Dutch police he’d arrived early to the neighborhood and stopped in a café to kill time.
While there, he saw an “expensive BMW” and gave it a thumbs-up, but didn’t know it had anything to do with Rutte, then went into a gym across the street to inquire about membership, but had no idea Rutte was inside working out, the NRC Handelsblad reports. Van Doorn had been a member of Geert Wilders’ anti-Islamic far right party, but in a dramatic reversal converted to Islam in 2012 and is now the leader of the Party of Unity. He had to pay a fine in 2014 for having an illegal flare gun, per the NRC, and, before converting to Islam, was convicted of selling anti-Islamic tweets.
Meanwhile, security for Rutte has been stepped up. The Dutch PM normally walks or bikes through the Hague, but after the murder of crime reporter Peter de Vries, guards have been shadowing him as he goes about his day. De Vries had been writing about criminal gangs in the Netherlands, and Rutte has vowed to crack down on gang activity, the BBC reports. Van Doorn’s lawyer, Anis Boumanjal, said van Doorn’s detention was unlawful, and there was no reason to suspect him of any wrongdoing. The Netherlands is “in a cramp” over COVID restrictions, Boumanjal said. (Read more Netherlands stories.)