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Dutch politician’s assassin released

AMSTERDAM — The animal rights activist who assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was freed Friday, after serving just under 12 years in prison — years during which many of Fortuyn’s ideas, particularly his disdain of ‘‘multiculturalism’’ and his dislike of Muslim immigration, have become mainstream in the Netherlands.

Volkert van der Graaf killed Fortuyn on May 6, 2002, days before national elections in which Fortuyn was set to win big on an anti-immigration platform that upended the then-progressive Dutch political landscape.

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Fortuyn’s ideas were increasingly taken up by the mainstream right. Successive governments have passed laws ordering citizenship classes for immigrants and making it more difficult to immigrate but easier to be deported.

Fortuyn supporters scheduled a protest against van der Graaf’s release, and right-wing groups have vowed to track him down and kill him.

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