Minister apologises to murdered men’s families after security failings


Justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz has made a formal apology on behalf of the cabinet to the families of three men shot dead because of personal protection failures.

All three men – investigative journalist Pieter R. de Vries, lawyer Derk Wiersum and businessman Reduan B. – were connected to Nabil B, who had turned crown witness against alleged gangland boss Ridouan Taghi.

The Dutch safety research council OVV said earlier this month there had been significant communications failures between the police, public prosecution service and counter-terrorism unit NCTV in protecting the three men, who were shot dead in broad daylight.

Yesilgöz said in a parliamentary briefing she had had personal contact with the families and told them that mistakes had been made, facts which she deeply regretted. Wiersum was Nabil B’s lawyer, De Vries his advisor and Reduan his brother.

‘At the same time, I am acutely aware that the indescribable suffering inflicted on the bereaved families cannot be taken away,’ the minister said.

New measures

The cabinet, she said, is accepting all the recommendations made by the OVV. This means security for people who are seriously at risk will now fall under the counter-terrorism unit, which is already in charge of the security of royals and ministers.

Furthermore, the government will stop using crown witnesses in trials until a new system has been established which pays greater attention to the safety of people with links to the person who has turned state’s evidence, she said.

Taghi and 16 co-defendants are facing life sentences in the vast Marengo trial, where they are accused of arranging and carrying out six fatal shootings in an 18-month period and plotting a further 18 attacks.

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