Dutch Police Arrest Suspect for Killing Syrian Artist

Dutch media reported Saturday that authorities arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of murdering the Syrian theater actress Raifa Al-Riz on Monday.

The police have not yet provided any further information about the suspect, except that he was remanded in custody, while Suleiman Al-Riz, the artist’s brother, stated that the arrested man is the former husband of his sister, who is also Syrian.

Activists circulated on social media pictures of the arrested husband, Wael Dergham, who also lives in the city of Zafula, 80 kilometres from Amsterdam, where police found the victim on Monday afternoon.

Activists confirmed that Dergham was the victim’s husband, saying that she was supporting him and helping him financially, especially after suffering mental disorders.

Raifa al-Raz is a theater actress known artistically as Raifa Ahmed, a graduate of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus in 1991, and a colleague of many great Syrian artists.

She took refuge in the Netherlands years ago, and she is the mother of a single son from a previous marriage, who currently lives with his father in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq.

Last Monday, police stated that they had received a report from a neighbor of Raifa Al-Riz, over hearing quarrels and screams from her home, according to Dutch media.

Police officers stormed the house of Raifa, and found the Syrian artist soaked in her blood after being stabbed several times with a knife; all attempts to rescue her were unsuccessful.

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