Executions by State during ending of train hijacking at 'De Punt' in 1977




On 4 November 2016, the court hearing was held at the District Court of The Hague against the State of the Netherlands regarding the ‘Moluccan train hostage crisis’ that took place near De Punt in the Dutch province Drenthe in the summer of 1977. The train siege was ended by force on 11 June 1977 by a large-scale military operation under the code name ‘Mercedes’. Within the context of this operation, two hostages and six of the nine hijackers were killed. Documents that became available to the surviving relatives at the end of 2013 reveal that hijackers Hansina Uktolseja and Max Papilaja were executed by marines who entered the train.
Plaintiffs in these court proceedings against the Dutch State are Max Papilaja’s mother and two of Hansina Uktolseja’s brothers. It is to be noted upfront that they are not using this case to justify the hijacking of the train in and of itself. For them, the point of the procedure is to find out the truth about what happened to their son and sister. All the more so because it has become clear that the State of the Netherlands kept a lot of information about ‘Operation Mercedes’ and the death of the hijackers hidden in the years after 1977, both from the surviving relatives and from the Dutch people.
 
The court is to issue its judgment on 27 January 2017.
 

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