Fugitive dentist held after manhuntComment on this story
Bourges, France -
A fugitive Dutch dentist accused of mutilating dozens of French patients has been arrested in Canada following an international manhunt.
Mark Van Nierop, whose real first name is Jacobus, has been sought under an international arrest warrant since February on charges including “intentional violence causing permanent mutilation”.
He was arrested this week in the small town of Nackawic in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It is not yet known how he was found.
French prosecutors told AFP on Thursday they will seek his extradition to France.
Unconfirmed reports in Canadian media said Van Nierop tried to commit suicide by slitting his throat at the time of his arrest.
Van Nierop was brought to the remote rural area of Chateau-Chinon in central France in November 2008 by a headhunter, and was initially welcomed by locals who were sorely lacking in medical services.
But concerns soon started to mount about Van Nierop as patients reported bits of broken tool in their gums, recurrent abscesses, septicemia, broken jaws and healthy teeth being pulled out, Le Parisien reported.
Van Nierop has also been charged with fraud after claims he tried to rip off customers.
“He said he had done 17 treatments on 17 different teeth for my wife in 10 minutes, as well as charging for a tooth that had been pulled out 10 years earlier,” one local, Gerard Martin, told AFP in July.
A group of 120 victims formed a collective to press charges, and a criminal investigation was opened against him in May 2013.
But Van Nierop fled in December, forcing French authorities to seek an international warrant for his arrest.
“We must now confirm to the Canadian authorities our wish that he is extradited to France,” said prosecutor Vincent Bonnefoy on Thursday.
Van Nierop is due to have a detention review hearing on Friday, said Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada spokesman Charles Hawkins. - Sapa-AFP