Dutch Businessman Jailed in Nuke Case
Dec. 17, 2005
ALKMAAR, Netherlands (AP) _ A Dutch businessman who oversaw the sale of dual-use nuclear technology to Pakistan was sentenced Friday to a year prison.
The court convicted Henk Slebos, the 62-year-old director of Slebos Research BV, of overseeing four shipments of dual-use equipment to Pakistan between 1999 and 2002. ``Dual-use'' items can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
Slebos' company sold the equipment to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist considered the father of Pakistan's nuclear program. Khan has acknowledged spreading sensitive technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea without government authorization.
The court ruled that Slebos violated Dutch export laws by shipping banned technology to Pakistan knowing it would used as part of the country's nuclear program.
Slebos conceded his company made the shipments but denied violating the law. He said he believed Pakistan needed a nuclear capability to establish a regional balance with rival India.
``It was no different between the United States and Russia during the cold war,'' he told The Associated Press after the ruling. He said he felt singled out for prosecution when hundreds of companies around the world also delivered equipment to Khan's laboratories.
Slebos' shipments included a barometer, o-rings, 104 pieces of graphite and 45 pounds of triethanolamine, an industrial chemical that can be used in enriching uranium.
The court granted Slebos two weeks to consider an appeal, and he will remain free until then.