The four-year trial of 10 men and one woman accused of involvement in at least seven gangland killings ended on Tuesday with three of the defendents sentenced to life imprisonment.
Formal hearings ended last year in a legal process that started in February 2009. The proceedings were repeatedly stopped, restarted and delayed, partly due to the involvement of key crown witness Peter la Serpe, who admitted involvement in one of the murders.
Siegfired S, Jesse R and Mohamed R were given life sentences at an extra secure courthouse in the west of Amsterdam for their role in the killings. Jesse R was found guilty of being involved in six of the murders and several attempted killings.
A fourth man, Fred Ros, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for his role in the deaths. Judges said they had ‘absolutely no faith he would turn into a good citizen,’ the Volkskrant reported.
Two others – Dino S and Ali A – were found not guilty of murder because of insufficient evidence. Nor is there enough proof the two were members of a criminal organisation, the court said.
Dino S was given six months in jail for money laundering and forging passports. Ali S was given 18 months for money laundering. Both men had already spent this time in jail awaiting the trial. The public prosecution department has already said it will appeal.
La Serpe himself was given eight years in jail. Judges said his decision to give evidence at the trial had put his own life in danger. Nevertheless, they criticised the quality of his evidence, particularly with regard to Dino S and Ali A.
Five of the killings under investigation took place in 1993. The others include the murders of property magnate Kees Houtman in 2005 and cafe owner Thomas van der Bijl in 2006.
The 11 were charged with planning other killings, membership of a criminal organisation, money laundering and the illegal possession of weapons.
By the time the trial actually started in 2009, some 257 witnesses had been heard during the police investigation, 500 telephones were tapped and the paperwork filled 250 files.