Tuesday 29 November 2022

Hofstad terrorist case must be tried again

The legal case against seven alleged Muslim extremists on terrorism charges must be heard for a second time, the high court ruled on Tuesday.

The seven were found not guilty of being members of a terrorist organisation at their appeal in the Hague in 2008.
But on Tuesday, the high court ruled the definitions for the ‘existence and structure of a criminal or terrorist organisation’ used by the appeal court were ‘too strict’ and has ordered the case to be retried.
The high court also said the decision to find the seven not guilty of inciting hatred was also ‘without foundation in law’. The appeal court had said inciting hatred can only be a criminal offence if it is directed at a vulnerable minority, the NRC reported.
The seven are part of a loose grouping of of young Muslims which police named the Hofstad group. It is said to include Mohammed Bouyeri who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004.
Two of the group were found guilty of attempting to murder police officers by throwing a hand grenade during their arrest. Muslim convert Jason Walters, who has an American father and Dutch mother, is serving 15 years for five counts of attempted murder. Ismail Akhnikh, given a 13-year jail term at the original trial in 2006, was given 15 months by the appeal court.
At their first trial, judges had ruled the gang was a terrorist organisation but said there was no proof that it was planning actual attacks and making threats. Of the 14 men originally tried on terrorism charges, five were found not guilty and two have been deported as undesirable aliens.
Although several people have been jailed for planning terrorist attacks in the Netherlands there have not been any terror-related bombings or killings in the Netherlands, apart from the murder of Van Gogh.
Last December, the counter terrorism body NCTb said the risk of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands is now limited.

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