WILLEMSTAD - Today a man and a woman are on trial in Curaçao who are suspected of kidnapping, robbing, assaulting and throwing into the sea a then 17-year-old Dutch girl on August 25 last year.
The girl survived that night like a miracle by hiding in the water under a protruding rock.
The girl was injured, but eventually managed to find a beach while swimming, where she was found by a woman who took her to the police. The police distributed security footage of the perpetrators' various attempts to get Sara to withdraw money, before she was thrown into the sea after driving around the island for hours.
The 30-year-old Shelomi P. and the 34-year-old female bus driver Azanahil M. reported themselves to the police station on October 4 last year. Both confessed their involvement in the crimes, but during a pre-trial session in January this year, P. withdrew part of his statement.
Judge Hans de Doelder, professor of criminal law at Erasmus University and the University of Curaçao, is hearing the case. He is also affiliated with the Common Court in Willemstad and a heavyweight in Curaçao, co-responsible for the publication of the Curaçao Criminal Code.
During the pre-trial hearing in January of this year, the victim, who is present with her mother, asks aloud in court "how people are able to do such things." Judge De Doelder responded by saying that a psychological report must answer that question. "You will agree when I say that these are not exactly everyday actions."
She can also tell her story. Unlike the Netherlands, Curaçao does not have a separate right to speak during the lawsuit. The Dutch girl has to play a legal trick to be allowed to speak. She demands compensation through her lawyer in Curaçao, Mathieu van den Berg, and she may explain this on request.
The court allows that it is not about the compensation. “Because it's not about the money, she wants to confront the perpetrators with the suffering they have caused her,” says her lawyer.
Today the Haaksbergse is there again, with her father this time. The chance that she will be able to speak a second time is small. “As a rule, this is only allowed once during criminal proceedings,” says Van den Berg.
The treatment of the two suspects will be done separately. First it is Shelomi P., then Azanahil M. They both have their own, assigned lawyer. “The separate treatment is usually an indication that the statements of the two do not correspond,” says the lawyer. “I hope that the man will confess everything now, so that it becomes clear that the woman was in charge of the terrible events that day. She was the one who directed everything and deserves more punishment.”