Fourth Dutch teen arrested over linesman killing: police

Dutch police said Friday they had arrested a fourth teenager in connection with the shocking beating to death of a football linesman.

A flag flies at half-mast on December 4, 2012 at the clubhouse of the Dutch football club SC Buitenboys in Almere, Netherlands, where a linesman died after he beaten by teenaged players of SV Nieuw Sloten from Amsterdam following a match on December 2. Dutch police said Friday they had arrested a fourth teenager in connection with the killing.

The 16-year-old from Amsterdam was arrested on Thursday evening, police said, meaning two 15-year-olds and two 16-years-olds are now in custody for the fatal beating.

A team of 20 police is investigating Sunday's assault by amateur players from Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten on Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, of the Buitenboys club in neighbouring Almere, police said.

Police said they had interviewed dozens of witnesses and that there may be more arrests. They appealed for anyone who might have filmed or photographed the attack on the assistant referee to come forward.

Nieuwenhuizen’s own son was playing in the match and witnessed the beating that followed the final whistle, Dutch media said.

The linesman was reportedly repeatedly kicked in the head while lying on the ground, but got up and went home. He collapsed a few hours later and died in hospital with his family at his side on Monday.

On Thursday, a Dutch judge remanded in custody the three teens arrested at their Amsterdam homes on Monday for two more weeks.

The three appeared before a judge following the amateur game attack that has shocked football-mad Netherlands, where some 1.2 million people out of a population of 16.5 million are members of national football federation KNVB.

The teens, who are being held at a youth detention centre whose location is being kept secret, face charges of manslaughter, assault and public violence.

If convicted, the two 15 year olds would serve a maximum sentence of one year in a youth prison.

The 16 year olds could be jailed for a maximum two years, unless judges rule that they should be tried as adults and face a stiffer penalty.

The precise charges will be determined according to the results of an investigation by police and prosecutors.

The murder prompted Dutch football federation KNVB to call off all 33,000 of this weekend's amateur matches. Professionals held a minute's silence and players wore black armbands during their matches.

A delegation from the KNVB, including chairman Michael van Praag, will attend a silent march in Nieuwenhuizen’s memory to be held in Almere on Sunday.

Nieuw Sloten club held a behind-closed-doors memorial service for the dead linesman on Thursday evening, national news agency ANP reported.

Amsterdam's Nieuw-West district, where Nieuw Sloten club is based, tweeted that mosques in the neighbourhood would hold a moment's silence in Nieuwenhuizen's memory during Friday prayers.

Dutch media have reported that at least three of the suspects are of Moroccan origin.

The Telegraaf newspaper said that the linesman would be cremated on Monday.

The top-selling tabloid's Friday edition splashed a grainy photograph reportedly of the assault on its front page, under the headline "lunacy".

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency