Bada Bing owner Van den Heuvel pleased and angry after Illidge’s release “Just like Patrick, I have already been sentenced”POSTED: 01/31/14 1:15 AM
St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – The prosecutor’s office decided yesterday not to ask the Judge of Instruction for the pretrial detention of independent MP Patrick Illidge and to release him from custody. The decision triggered mixed reactions, also from Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel.
“Today I have learned with much pleasure that Patrick has been released,” Van den Heuvel told this newspaper yesterday late in the afternoon. “Unfortunately he has been forced to sit for ten days like a moron. I feel bad about that, that he has been detained for this. I do understand that he does not want to continue our friendship like before.”
While Van den Heuvel expressed his regrets about what has befallen Illidge in the fallout of what has commonly become known as the Bada Bing bribery scandal, he is also seriously angry about the turn of events. “What I do not understand, and what makes me enormously angry is that we are both suspected of crimes imposed on us by justice and for which we have both been locked up. How is it possible then that I was put in pretrial detention, that they took away my passport, blocked my bank accounts and made it impossible for me to continue with my work while the other suspect, Patrick fortunately has not been requested to go into pretrial detention or to surrender his passport.”
Van den Heuvel wonders about the difference in treatment he received. “Fortunately Patrick is able to go back to work – fortunately for him. But is it because I am white? Because I am a-political? Because I am a Dutch businessman? Because I am a brothel owner? When you are that, you are already guilty. People might say, he is in the prostitution, he has a club, so he must be guilty. Why is justice doing this? Why did they lock me up for 18 days and why did they interrogate me on average one hour a day?”
Van den Heuvel says that justice on one occasion let him sit in his cell for five days without interrogating him once.
“The prosecutor, who is simply lying to me, gave the judge misleading information that did not check out at all, everything to make it possible to keep me detained longer. She asked for additional detention, because I supposedly have strong ties with the Netherlands. I was supposedly a flight risk because, according to the prosecutor, I was not present on the island for a long period of time.”
All this, Van den Heuvel says, is incorrect. “June is the only month I was not on the island. All the other months I have simply been here. A flight risk? They wanted to talk to me in April and I went. They wanted to talk to me in September and I reported myself. The prosecutor asked for prolonged detention because I was a risk for collusion. When the judge asked for an explanation she said, I cannot and will not do that.”
Van den Heuvel is clearly fed up with the way the investigation has been going and with the way it has affected him. “During the third court hearing I have told the Judge of Instruction that I have no confidence in this investigation. I also said that, according to me, the Judge of Instruction blindly accepts whatever the prosecutor tells her. This has not been investigated. They mislead and they lie so that they are able to keep you in custody, because there is pressure from the Netherlands. I asked the prosecutor about this and she looked very angry at me, but she said nothing. So she admitted this by not answering – that is clear.”
Van den Heuvel is also extremely displeased about the custody-conditions he had to endure. “You are locked up, you share your cell with a child rapist – a man who raped a 14-year old girl – the same age as my daughter. There was also a convicted child murderer who supposedly smashed a baby to death – what does this prosecutor have against me? And now this. It is discrimination. Why did I have to go into pretrial detention, why do I have to cope without my passport? If something happens with my family in the Netherlands I am not able to leave right away. I am not even allowed to talk to my staff. That is strictly prohibited and if I do it they will lock me up again.”
Van den Heuvel has just one word for the treatment he received so far: “Class justice.” He maintains that the prosecutor’s office is doing what it feels like doing. “Just like Patrick I have already been sentenced by the Dutch media, the Caribbean media and Dutch politics. Dozens of ministers and parliamentarians have given their opinion: guilty. That is really not normal. Before my arrest on September 19 of last year I had a high opinion and a lot of respect for justice. But after all the lying and misleading my esteem and my respect for justice has gone down to zero. It is very sad and tragic that things have to go this way. Class justice – I have no other word for it.”