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Compensation for wrongful imprisonment totals $16 million for 2004

Released man paid $718,000

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - The Dutch government has paid $16 million in compensation last year to individuals wrongly arrested, jailed or convicted. On average, each person received $3,575. One innocent man, recently freed after 4.5 years, was granted a payment of $718,000. In 2001, Cees B. had been sentenced to eighteen years and psychiatric care for killing a 10-year old girl in Schiedam, near Rotterdam.

B., allegedly a pedophile who was never convicted, had confessed to the murder of the girl and the attempted murder of a boy during the same incident. Although he recanted his story soon, prosecutors through unsubstantiated DNA-testing, were convinced of his guilt.

The case against the man only unhinged in 2005, when another man, arrested for attempted rape, confessed to the murder of Nienke Kleiss. DNA evidence confirmed his confession and proved the jailed man’s innocence. An investigation into the first court case revealed that prosecutors did not relate to the judge various DNA experts’ strong doubts about a link to the first suspect. The mistakes and the suppressed evidence in the 2001 court case, since have led to new recommendations on how to deal with DNA evidence, the chain of evidence and the conduct of prosecutors.

In the last couple of years, the government paid huge amounts of compensation in two other high-profile cases. In 2004, a man received $150,000 following his release from incarceration for his alleged role in the deadly explosions and fires at the Enschede fireworks manufacturer. Two men, wrongfully jailed for seven years for the 1994 murder of Putten stewardess Christel Ambrosius, together received $2.15 million. Their release however transferred the murder of the woman into the category of ‘unsolved crimes.’