One of the Netherlands’ most notorious terrorist suspects was released from jail on Friday after serving two thirds of his sentence for plotting attacks in the country.
Samir Azzouz, said to be a member of a loose grouping of young men nicknamed the Hofstad group by police, was released at a secret location and has been banned from talking to the media.
The public prosecution department had tried to have the release halted, saying Azzouz still holds the same radical views, but this was rejected by judges last week. In addition, the prison governor said he had no objections to Azzouz’ early release.
Azzouz has been in jail since 2004 and went through three trials before he was finally convicted of terrorist offences.
In 2008 he was given a nine year sentence for membership of a terrorist organisation, plotting attacks on political targets and recruiting people for the armed struggle against ‘the enemies of Islam’.
In 2012 he applied for prison leave to complete a business and economics degree.
One of the conditions of the early release is that Azzouz does not travel abroad. However, the court has asked the public prosecutor to reconsider, saying it will be very difficult for him to build a new life in the Netherlands.
According to RTL news, Azzouz wanted to move to the United Arab Emirates with his wife and children.
He has also been banned from going to Zoetermeer and The Hague, RTL said.
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