Rotterdam judges won’t try jihadi suspects in absentia, right to a fair trial is crucial


Judges in Rotterdam have said they will not prosecute suspected jihadis who are still in Syria and Iraq, threatening the public prosecution department’s plan to carry out more prosecutions in absentia.

The court said that the suspects have the right to appear at their own trials. ‘This is one of the most fundamental rights a suspect has,’ the court is quoted as saying by broadcaster NOS.

Judges were reacting to the criminal case against 10 men who are all thought to be abroad. They will re-examine the case next January to see if the men have returned to the Netherlands and can face charges.

The 10 facing charges at the Rotterdam court range in age from 18 to 29 and come from all over the country, including Arnhem, Almere, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer. Their number includes Dutch Muslim convert Victor Droste.

The public prosecutor says the men are too dangerous to wait until they return to the Netherlands to be taken to court and has tried to alert them via social media to their trial.

The court also noted that one of the men concerned may actually be dead. It said his death has to be confirmed before his trial can actually take place.

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