11 on trial for gangland killings

The trial of 10 men and one woman charged with at least seven gangland killings started in the high-security court in Amsterdam on Monday. The trial is set to be one of the biggest in Dutch legal history.

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 on trial are also charged with planning other killings, membership of a criminal organisation, money laundering and the illegal possession of weapons.
The prosecution case centres on witness Peter la Serpe, a former gang member, who will be heard from a specially-protected witness box.
The 11 defendants do not include Dino S, considered the mastermind behind the killings, who is on the run, reports the AD.
The court, housed in a top security building known as the bunker, will sit for between 60 and 75 days. Some 257 witnesses were heard during the police investigation, 500 telephones were tapped and the paperwork fills 250 files, says Trouw. A verdict is not expected until March 2010.

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