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Sunday 26 October  
Nadim Youssef
Belinda van Steijn's picture
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Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands
Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands

Syrian shot dead in Dutch ‘safe haven’

Published on : 11 April 2011 - 7:03pm | By Belinda van Steijn (photo: ANP)
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Flee your home country because your life is in danger and then get shot in ‘the safe haven of the Netherlands’. That’s what happened to Syrian-Kurdish activist Nadim Youssef in Alphen aan den Rijn. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nadim Youssef had lived in Alphen aan den Rijn with his wife and their two young sons since 2007. He was one of the six victims of Tristan van der Vlis, the Dutchman who opened fire with a machine gun in a shopping centre on Saturday, finally shooting himself in the head.

Activist
Mr Youssef was a poet and Syrian political activist. From his new home in the Netherlands, he kept up his work for a Syrian-Kurdish political party, a branch of the PKK: the Kurdistan Workers Party. His friend Kawa Rashid, who lives in the Netherlands, describes his death as incomprehensible.

“He struggled against the regime in Syria for 20 years. They didn’t manage to kill him. He survived an assassination attempt. Now he’s been killed by a madman in the Netherlands.”

Mr Youssef was given Dutch residency after someone tried to kill him in Afrin in Syria. His friends say a bomb was hidden in his motorbike. He was on the danger list for some time after the blast and was left with serious injuries.

Asylum
He fled to Lebanon, where he requested asylum in the Netherlands, where his brother Hanif had been living for several years. Nadim was still being treated by Dutch doctors for the injuries sustained in the assassination attempt. His friends say the Syrian authorities never launched an investigation to find out who was behind the attack.

Like his brother Hanif, Nadim was also a poet. He published collections of his work, one in Kurdish and one in Arabic called Burning Heart, with poetry on the Kurdish issue.

Loss
He was due to have meetings at the European parliament this week to discuss the current situation in Syria, where protests against the regime of president Bashar al-Assad are continuing, says Mr Rashid.

“Nadim and I were to go to Brussels together with other Syrian activists for talks with members of the European Commission and European parliament. The delegation will now not include Nadim. It’s a great loss.”

He thinks Mr Youssef will be buried in the Netherlands, “The regime in Syria will certainly not allow him to be buried in his native land, in his hometown, near his family and friends.”

(mw, ks)

Discussion

Espi 13 April 2011 - 12:49am / Thailand

This guy has been in prison for about 15 years. because of his comment on the regime. He's survived two bombings one with his car second on his bicycle. (this article is not correct).
He was invited by the UN to come. They already had a living in Lebanon.
His connection with the PKK is totally misleading.
More info: http://nadim-youssef.nl/

I Will attend his funeral, so as politicians from all over the world will do.
Hopefully he will be remembered as role model for the democracy in Arab countries.

Espi 13 April 2011 - 12:48am / Thailand

This guy has been in prison for about 15 years. because of his comment on the regime. He's survived two bombings one with his car second on his bicycle. (this article is not correct).
He was invited by the UN to come. They already had a living in Lebanon.
His connection with the PKK is totally misleading.
More info: http://nadim-youssef.nl/

I Will attend his funeral, so as politicians from all over the world will do.
Hopefully he will be remembered as role model for the democracy in Arab countries.

jasmin 12 April 2011 - 12:50pm / India

Weird are the ways of the fate!

Anonymous 12 April 2011 - 3:52am

What do PKK people in the Netherlands?? I only know PKK is a terrorist organization....
It was his destination so. May he rest in peace.

ozzix 11 April 2011 - 10:11pm

wasn't PKK is a terrorist organization ??I wonder why it's only mentioned as a political party.. PKK is a terrorist organization listed by EU as well.. so I must agree the previous comment.. karma.

Anonymous 11 April 2011 - 8:09pm

Karma!!!

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