Grapperhaus: Julio Poch receives eight years of imprisonment reimbursement

The Dutch government is still paying a reimbursement and compensation in costs to former pilot Julio Poch. Minister Grapperhaus announced that this evening in the House of Representatives.

It is a โ€œdaily allowance for wrongful detentionโ€ that is doubled because Poch spent wrongful imprisonment abroad. For every day detention, his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops says that is 200 euros. With the eight years Poch has been in custody, that would amount to nearly six tons, excluding other legal fees.

Grapperhaus: โ€œThe fact that the detention was in Argentina generated additional obstacles. They can be called tropical years and that might be too lightly expressed for how it must have been. It was difficult for Mr Pochs neighbors to visit him there and find their way in the Argentinelegal system.โ€

Grapperhaus did not want to mention any amounts in the Chamber because of the confidentiality of the conversations that are still ongoing with Poch and Knoops. Poch also receives an amount of compensation in the attorney fees.

Step in the right direction

In an initial response, Knoops says he did not know that the minister was going to make this announcement tonight. โ€œIts a first step in the right direction,โ€ he says. โ€œWe have yet to study what the proposal means. Mr. Poch has been making a lot of debt in recent years.โ€ Knoops says Poch said he appreciated the gesture.

The Dutch-Argentine Poch spent eight years at the hands of the Netherlands in an Argentine prison, before he was acquitted of cooperation in the death flights under the Argentine dictatorship.

โ€œWe want nothing more than to see a stripe under this case,โ€ Knoops says. โ€œPoch turns seventy in February and has been doing this drama for eleven years. Poch must be able to pay his debts and move on with his life.โ€

Not unlawful

A committee of inquiry concluded that the state did not act unlawfully. It seemed that the cabinet would therefore not pay compensation. Knoops therefore announced a soil procedure against the state yesterday.

Several MPs such as Van Nispen (SP), Sjoerdsma (D66), Chick (PvdA) and Markuszower (PVV) have been continually getting information and satisfaction from the cabinet. Knoops has โ€œmuch appreciationโ€ for the MPs who have made themselves strong for the cause.

Grapperhauss offer is โ€œirrevocableโ€ which means it will never be withdrawn again, even if Poch is going to demand a higher amount. Grapperhaus said he has been in a โ€œthought processโ€ about the matter in recent weeks, and that through the Chamber debate he has decided to bring out โ€œthe outcome of his thinkingโ€ today.