The main suspect in the Utrecht tram shooting has a criminal record and was released from jail ahead of his trial for rape on March 1, the Dutch courts have confirmed.
The Midden Nederland court, which covers Utrecht and Flevoland, issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon stating that Gökmen Tanis had been charged with rape in July 2017 but was released from custody that September to await trial.
However, after failing to meet the terms of his release he was picked up again in January this year, and went to court several times asking to be let go. On March 1 ‘in line with the standpoint of the defence and the public prosecution department he was released under licence’ the statement said.
— rb Midden-Nederland (@rechtbankMNL) March 19, 2019
Since then Tanis has been sentenced to two weeks in jail for shoplifting and four months for burglary but neither case was definitive, the statement said. Neither crime would merit being remanded in custody, broadcaster NOS said.
The court also confirmed that in 2014, Tanis was jailed for 150 days, 149 suspended, for the illegal possession of a gun and attempted robbery but was found not guilty of attempted murder.
According to the Telegraaf, Tanis was tracked down after he used a friend’s phone to access his bank online and transfer money.
Asked by MPs during a debate on Tuesday afternoon why Tanis was out of jail, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said he understood the question but had no answers at present.
‘Our job now is to ensure calm and security,’ he told MPs.
Grapperhaus and prime minister Mark Rutte are to visit Utrecht to speak to locals later on Tuesday.
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