Former presenter Frank Masmeijer released earlier after king’s pardon

Robin Utrecht

NOS NewsAmended

Former presenter Frank Masmeijer has been released from prison by a decision of King Willem-Alexander. Masmeijer, 60, was serving a nine-year prison sentence for cocaine smuggling. He was unexpectedly released at the end of last month, he now tells Privé and De Telegraaf. Among other things, the newspaper has printed a copy of the pardon.

Masmeijer was sentenced in 2017 to eight years in prison for smuggling hundreds of kilos of cocaine through the port of Antwerp, three years earlier. On appeal, that sentence was increased to nine years. Initially he served his sentence in Belgium, lately in Nieuwegein.

Very exceptional

Masmeijer’s lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops said in the NOS Radio 1 News that the pardon is very exceptional. “You have to think of extraordinary humanitarian circumstances that were not previously known to the court or that someone has started to lead a completely different life.”

In Masmeijer’s case, it concerns a partial pardon for the last year and a half of his sentence. According to Knoops, Masmeijer submitted the request himself.

Knoops does not know what the exact reason is that Masmeijer was pardoned. The exact reason is not mentioned in the grace decision.

Not often

In the 35 years that he has been a lawyer, Knoops has experienced “in a handful of cases” that someone was pardoned. In that time, his practice has been pardoned more than a hundred times.

The website of the Ministry of Justice and Security states that pardons were granted 101 times last year unconditionally and 30 times conditionally. 320 requests were rejected. 206 requests were withdrawn. Why isn’t there.

Frank Masmeijer became known to the general public as a presenter of game and show programs in the 80s and 90s. For example, for the NCRV he was the face of the Holiday Show and things.

Masmeijer says in the newspaper that his release came as a big surprise to him. “Even the best lawyers never pointed out to me that I could be pardoned simply because the chance was nil. I hope the outside world will see me differently now. I want to enjoy my new life. A job, money deserve and enjoy my granddaughter whom I have now been able to hold for the first time.”

Badly fallen

The pardons have been bad for the police, Jan Struijs of the Dutch Police Association (NPB) said on NPO Radio 1. “The detectives who are active in combating the cocaine trade were particularly unpleasantly surprised.”

The NPB wants the motivation of the decision to be published. “We are talking about very hard coke trade in the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. We all know about the subversion and the threats. So the police have a very hard time with this.”

In Masmeijer’s case, it is in any case not that he is life-threatening, said Struijs.

According to him, the pardons have also gone badly for his colleagues in Belgium. “They also want to hear that motivation.”