THE HAGUE – A man accused of killing a former Dutch health minister admitted the slaying at a court hearing Thursday, claiming it was an “order from God” because she was responsible for the Netherlands’ euthanasia law.
The suspect, identified only as Bart van U. because of privacy rules, made the confession during a closed hearing, Rotterdam Court spokesman Pelle Biesmeijer said in a telephone interview.
Former health minister Els Borst, who drafted the nation’s landmark 2002 law legalizing euthanasia, was stabbed to death at her home two years ago.
News of the motive behind her death sent shockwaves through Borst’s former political party, D66.
“My worst fears have been realized,” said current party leader Alexander Pechtold. “The suspect’s motive is shocking and confrontational. Els was killed because of her socially and politically groundbreaking work on euthanasia.”
Prosecution spokeswoman Jeichien de Graaff said Van U.’s statement in court would be taken into account in a psychiatric assessment that aims to help judges decide if he can be held criminally responsible for his actions.
Van U. was arrested last year on suspicion of stabbing his sister to death, De Graaff said. Prosecutors say that during the investigation into that slaying, he gave DNA samples that were found to match traces of DNA found at the scene of Borst’s slaying.
Van U. is charged with murder or, alternatively, manslaughter in both slayings.