Dries van Agt, a Dutch politician and former prime minister of the Netherlands who turned a pro-Palestinian activist later in life, died on Feb. 5 in his hometown, Nijmegen. He was 93.

He died “hand in hand” along with his spouse, Eugenie, additionally 93, in a joint act of euthanasia, in keeping with The Rights Forum, a corporation he based that’s devoted to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

The announcement of the couple’s euthanasia was a shock to many individuals who knew Mr. van Agt in addition to to Dutch society as an entire, mentioned Gerard Jonkman, the director of the Rights Discussion board.

In 2019, Mr. van Agt had a stroke, which induced him to lose a few of his schools, Mr. Jonkman mentioned. “He was in a nasty bodily situation towards the tip,” he added. “That was very tough for him.”

Mr. van Agt was prime minister from 1977 to 1982 as a conservative member of the centrist Christian Democratic Enchantment celebration. He did advance some progressive legal guidelines, nonetheless, taking part in an important position, for instance, within the decriminalization of using hashish. He continued to maneuver towards the political left later in life.

Mr. van Agt entered Dutch politics as a regulation professor after being approached to turn out to be justice minister below Prime Minister Barend Biesheuvel. “It began as an entire shock,” he mentioned in a 2015 interview with the Dutch public broadcaster that was aired posthumously. “As a result of by no means did I believe that I may, that I’d, turn out to be one thing like that.”

His political life was not with out strife. He clashed with the Dutch parliament in 1972, when, as justice minister, he needed to pardon three Germans who have been serving life sentences in jail after being convicted of warfare crimes in World Warfare II.

His reasoning, that the outdated males would now not be a danger to society and that their imprisonment now not served a goal, confronted sturdy opposition, prompting dying threats and protests, and Mr. van Agt dropped the thought. (One of many males later died in jail; the opposite two have been pardoned within the late Nineteen Eighties.)

Within the early summer time of 1977, Mr. van Agt, who was nonetheless justice minister on the time, confronted one other problem when a train was hijacked by South Moluccans, members of a big exile group within the Netherlands initially from a former Dutch Pacific island colony. Dutch marines ended the standoff by storming the practice, killing six hijackers and two of their greater than 50 hostages.

In 2014, a authorities report questioning the raid’s violent finish and Mr. van Agt’s dealing with of the disaster concluded that three of the hijackers who had been shot and killed by marines had been unarmed, in keeping with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.

Mr. van Agt’s authorities collapsed in 1982, and a brand new authorities was fashioned. He continued to be a member of Parliament for his celebration. He left Dutch politics in 1987 to turn out to be the European Union’s ambassador to Japan. He additionally went again to instructing.

Dries van Agt was born Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt on Feb. 2, 1931, in Geldrop, the Netherlands. His father was a textile producer. Mr. van Agt studied regulation on the Catholic College of Nijmegen (now Radboud College Nijmegen).

Whereas Mr. van Agt had expressed assist for Israel as prime minister, he started advocating for Palestinian rights after a go to to Israel in 1999, which he referred to as a “conversion” expertise, according to The Associated Press.

He based the Rights Discussion board in 2009 and was its chairman till 2015. In 2021, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, granted Mr. van Agt a high Palestinian distinction, the Grand Star within the Order of Jerusalem.

Mr. van Agt is survived by his kids, Eugenie, Frans and Caroline van Agt, in addition to grandchildren.

Mr. van Agt and his spouse have been married for 65 years. However “he had a variety of remorse that in his time as minister and prime minister he spent a variety of time away from his youngsters,” Mr. Jonkman mentioned.

Mr. van Agt later took a lot satisfaction in his grandchildren, certainly one of whom turned knowledgeable bicycle owner, a ardour of his, Mr. Jonkman mentioned. Certainly, he added, Mr. van Agt liked biking a lot that he as soon as left talks to kind a brand new authorities within the Nineteen Seventies to attend the Tour de France.


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