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history

05/09/1999

The Lüske' trial, an intermediate verdict

On Friday, September 3rd., the District Court of Amsterdam sentenced in the case of the infamous speculator Lüske. Lüske is on trial because he attempted to demolish the ADM, a building in the western port area in April 1998, where dozens of people live and work. He did that while he knew that at that time people were asleep inside. In an earlier session the prosecution demanded a sentence of two years and six months, of which six months were suspended.

The Court declared in its judgment the verdict null and void, so that a new hearing date was agreed on October 13th.. The court reached this verdict because the change in the summons hadn't been delivered through a bailiff, and because the lawyer of the defendant (Mr. Spong) should have been given the opportunity to consult with his client. So, a procedural error. This is strange because during the first trial mr. Spong, the lawyer of Lüske had asked three times to adjourn the matter on the basis of this same argument. Three times the three judges withdrew and three times they stated that the change in the summons was no reason to postpone. On the other hand, the judges might fear that Spong / Lüske appeal case would be stronger if they could accuse the judges of procedural errors. Spong will certainly appeal if Lüske is sentenced to imprisonment. The Public Prosecutor (Mrs. Zijlstra) sticks to her demand, 2 years in jail and six months probation.

13/10/1999

Conviction no obstacle for ADM-deal Lüske

(From a reporter)

AMSTERDAM - The municipality lacks a legal basis to subject real estate dealer Bertus Lüske to an integrity test. And should such a test turn out negative, then she wants to buy the squatted terrain in the West Harbor area off him - even if he is convicted of involvement in an attempted assassination of the squatters from one of the warehouses.

According to the municipality, there is only one way to 'achieve social benefit using the ADM terrain, and that is making arrangements with the current owner. "The alternative is that the site remains completely unused beyond the control of the municipality," the city-council writes in response to questions from Groen-Links.

Lüske purchased the land of 43 hectares in 1997 for 27 million guilders. Because it is currently, according to the zoning provisions, only suitable as a ship-wharf, he wants the zoning provisions changed. Then the terrain is worth much more. The municipality refuses this.

Today, the trial about Lüske's violent crackdown on the squatters of the ADM-terrain on the Hornweg will continue.

The real estate dealer tried in April last year, with the help of an excavator and a gang of muscle-men to demolish the building, while squatters where still inside. The jaws of the shovel destroyed a corner pillar of the building, the squatters could barely get themselves to safety. Lüske would have beaten a squatter.

The Public Prosecutor demanded two weeks ago, two years' imprisonment, of which six months were suspended, and a fine of 1,250 guilders. In violation of the terms of his release, Lüske had not appeared at the hearing.

The court suspended the case because the state prosecutor had changed the charges from an attempted murder to complicity. The suspect must be informed of any such modification.

The accomplices are the members of his gang of muscle-men and the driver of the excavator.

The report of the IRT Committee Van Traa speaks of 'property dealer B.' as one of the sixteen entrepreneurs who pull the strings in the Red Light District.

14/10/1999

“I told that squatter: dude, you have to go now, voluntarily”

AMSTERDAM - Bertus Lüske claimed to be innocent, yesterday in the court-room. The real estate broker, who in the early morning of April 25 last year, with an eighty-ton tracked vehicle and a team of ‘broad-shouldered’ demolishers tried to level the ADM building, "wasn’t aware of any wrong-doings”

The former market trader has learned a lesson. "I have been very stupid. I should not have come along, but yeah, I felt responsible, being the owner. I don’t want to sound pitiful, but my reputation is compromised.” He actually did not want to join. "I was in the middle of moving houses and should go with my wife to a spa. I then said: "You go with your mother."

A sentence of 24 months, of which six were suspended, were asked against Lüske last month, for being a co-perpetrator of an attempted murder. Two squatters narrowly escaped a hydraulic gripper that smashed through the windows.

Lüske was in breach of the conditions of his release last month, since he did not appear at the hearing. Yesterday it was revealed that he had been in Spain for a laser treatment of one eye, which has only 25 percent sight.

Why he at six o'clock in the morning wanted to demolish the building, while he knew, through his lawyer that squatters lived there, wanted the court to know. "I did not know better than that it was empty. The people were living in boats and caravans around the building. Only on that morning we saw that people actually lived in the building."

And they had warned them of course. But a squatter who lived on the second floor declared that she had just in time, pulled away her bed and had awoken her boyfriend before the gripper came. "If I had been lying in bed, I would have been killed or injured." Lüske: "If such a crane comes with that noise, how can you, for Christ’s sake, continue to sleep."

The director of the hired transport- and crane-company, who was called in as a witness, acknowledged that he had not checked the second floor. But according to him it was clear to the squatters knew why he had come. "We did not come to do errands. If you start a Caterpillar of 80 tons, the ground is shaking and you can hear this six blocks away. It is impossible that you can continue to sleep with that noise. In Amsterdam we are not allowed to start [working] before seven [o’clock], because then half the city wakes up."

He had walked to the first floor. "I said, dude, you have to go voluntarily. You get twenty minutes. No punch or shove has been dealt. When everyone was gone from the first floor, I shouted from the window that we could start. When the squatters started throwing stones from the roof, I went upstairs. Then the works were stopped by the police."

Oh yes, Someone approached him with a baseball bat. "A boy with glasses. So I took this from him and threw it away.“ And the director had behaved very nicely for the rest. Video footage of the squatters showed something completely different: that the wild gesticulating man had to be calmed down by police officers.

To the charge that Lüske had beaten a squatter, the suspect responded dismissive. "Pushed, that could have been.”

Lüskes's lawyer, G. Spong, acknowledged that there had been "a small mistake in the organization. But they has tried to do their best." He found that the prosecution had to be partially inadmissible because his client is the only one prosecuted. “That is at odds with the principle of equality. It is incomprehensible that the other co-perpetrators go unpunished."

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