Life sentence demanded for Ridouan Taghi and four co-defendants
Prosecutors have asked a court to impose a life sentence on alleged gang boss Ridouan Taghi and four of his co-defendants for arranging the murder of six underworld associates.
Taghi, 44, is the chief suspect in the ‘Marengo trial’, in which 16 people are accused of orchestrating a series of revenge killings. The gang plotted to murder 13 people in an 18-month period, but seven of the attacks were not carried out, prosecutors say.
The prosecution said the gang treated people’s lives as ‘a throwaway article’ and used ‘devastating’ violence to deter people from talking to the police. Their targets were shot at point-blank range, often while sitting in their cars: one victim, Samir Erraghib, was killed while his daughter was sitting on the back seat.
None of the 16 suspects has spoken or gave evidence during the trial, which began in March at the high-security courtroom in Amsterdam known as the Bunker.
The prosecution service said all the assassinations were carried out on Taghi’s orders. ‘He decides how the victims should be shot dead. He is the one who actually makes all the decisions. Decisions about life and death.’
As well as Taghi, life sentences were demanded for his co-defendants Mohamed R., 40 and Mao R., 47, who allegedly recruited contract killers on Taghi’s behalf, Mao’s brother Mario, 42, and Achraf B., 29.
Terms of between six and 20 years were demanded for the 10 other defendants. The shortest request is for Ricardo O., who is accused of distributing money and mobile phones to the gang.
Saïd Razzouki, described as Taghi’s right-hand man, is also facing a life sentence after he was arrested in Colombia and extradited to the Netherlands last December.
The prosecution also demanded a 10-year sentence for Nabil B., the crown witness whose evidence provided the breakthrough in the case. The jail term is half what would have been requested had he not co-operated with police.
B. was the getaway driver for a botched assassination which cost the life of a family friend, Hakim Changachi, in 2017. B. told Changachi’s family that he had been targeted by members of Taghi’s gang who mistook him for a Utrecht-based criminal.
B. sought police protection because he feared retribution from Taghi. Since he began working with police his brother, Reduan, his lawyer Derk Wiersum and his adviser, the investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries, have all been shot dead, allegedly on Taghi’s orders.
The court is expected to pass sentence next year.
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