In the Name of the Law
In the Name of the Law
IDFA 1991

In the Name of the Law

In naam der wet
Barbara den Uyl
64 min
Festival history
We write 1985: in the Amsterdam neighbourhood of the Staatsliedenbuurt the hard core of the squatter movement is still active. The newly appointed mayor, Van Thijn, wants to do anything to break the power of the squatter movement. In a violent eviction thirty-two squatters are arrested and detained. The next day one of them, Hans Kok, appears to have died in his cell.
The picture that was taken on his arrest shows a still healthy looking Hans Kok. Twenty hours later he is dead. How is this possible? What happened in those intervening hours? On the basis of official reports in the name of the law tries to answer this central question.
Soon it becomes obvious that Kok was locked in a freezing cell without a matrass and blankets. Then it turned out that he hadn't had any breakfast, although the police initially claimed he had. He was found late in the morning, but must have died hours before. Two independent phycisians will declare later that in all probability he would have lived if he had been taken to a hospital in time. Gradually the film concentrates on the question why a doctor wasn't summoned at the critical moment.
A great number of people appears before the camera. Hans Kok's brother in law, a number of his friends, the solicitor, the medical examiner, the mayor of Amsterdam and the then responsible Justice Minister, Korthals Altes. The police declined to cooperate. In its place, we see actors, partly professionals, partly amateurs. In addition to documentary material, the film offers acted scenes and library footage.
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