Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh, appeared in court in Amsterdam today as a witness in the appeal case of seven members of the so-called Hofstad terrorist group. Bouyeri was considered by the lower court to be a central figure in the network.
After first refusing to take the oath, Bouyeri went on to outline his interpretation of Islam. IIt should be the aim of every Muslim to introduce Sharia law, even in the Netherlands, Bouyeri was reported as saying. ‘But if you ask me, is that a realistic option, I must answer ‘no’.
A good Muslim in the Netherlands has two choices, he said. The first was to ‘pack your bags and leave’ for an Islamic country but, he said, ‘there isn’t one at the moment’. The second, said Bouyeri, is the one he opted for: ‘pick up your weapons and fight.’
The appeal, which is being heard at the high security court known as ‘the bunker’ in Amsterdam’s Osdorp, is expected to last several weeks and will hear 17 witnesses.
Of the 14 men originally tried on terrorism charges, five were found not guilty and five were given sentences of up to two years. Two of the seven appealing against conviction have already been deported as undesirable aliens.
Both the public prosecution department and the defence are appealing against the lower court ruling, newspaper Parool reported. It said the prosecution will once again try to convince the judges that the gang had been planning actual terrorist attacks.
Bouyeri was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005 for killing Van Gogh.
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