Train hijacking De Punt: Next-of-kin hold Dutch State liable for the execution of their relatives

Today, lawyers Liesbeth Zegveld and Brechtje Vossenberg summoned the Dutch State before the District Court of The Hague on behalf of the relatives of two hijackers who were shot dead when the hijacking of a train near the town De Punt (Drenthe) was ended by force on 11 June 1977. Zegveld and Vossenberg claim that there is sufficient proof that Max Papilaja and Hansina Uktolseja were unnecessarily and thus illegally killed. Evidence shows that that the hijackers were shot at close distance by marines who entered the train, while they were already defenceless and could also have been arrested. In addition, the lawyers claim that the marines used Hollow Point 5 bullets, a type of ammunition that is prohibited by the laws of war. The Dutch State is summoned to appear before the Court in The Hague on 23 December 2015.

In the morning of 23 May 1977, nine young Moluccans hijacked an intercity train near the town De Punt to address their struggle for an independent Moluccan state. The train hijacking was ended by force on 11 June 1977, killing six of the nine hijackers and two hostages, and (gravely) wounding others. In his report to parliament, the then Minister of Justice, Dries Van Agt, stated that ‘controlled force’ had been used. The government closed the file within two weeks, on 23 June 1977. Only recently disclosed documents contradict the conclusion of ‘controlled force’. In response to parliamentary questions late 2013, the Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten, ordered an archival investigation into ‘De Punt’, the conclusions of which were published on 19 November 2014. The Dutch State denies all liability.    

Writ of summons, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).
Radio Interview, BNR Radio, 7 December 2015 (in Dutch).

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