Tuesday 05 July 2022

Public prosecutor says Eindhoven suspects had no terrorist links

The high security courtroom. Photo: N. van der Pas

Seven men arrested in Eindhoven last year and charged with planning a terrorist attack need no longer be held in jail because they are ‘not legitimizing violence’, the public prosecution department said on Thursday.

Nor do the suspects support terrorist organisations, as thought earlier, the public prosecution department told judges at Thursday’s remand hearing at the high security court at Schiphol airport.

The department said it had changed its position on the basis of experts who had interviewed the suspects while they were being held. ‘We see no reason to doubt the judgement of the experts,’ the prosecutor said.

The court must still decide whether or not the seven should stay in custody. Two others involved in the case were released earlier.

The nine men, ranging in age from 18 to 31, were picked up last September following a tip-off earlier in the year. They had hired an empty garage in Eindhoven and converted into a makeshift gym because sports schools were shut during the coronanvirus pandemic.

The men were arrested after they were heard to talk about killing Marc Rutte, Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet while watching an action film together. The public prosecutor said at the time that the location was a training centre to prepare the group mentally and physically to carry out terrorist attacks.

No guns or explosives were ever found, nor did the police find evidence of actual plans or links to terrorist groups.

All nine men have denied any links to terrorism and their lawyers have said repeatedly their clients had no serious intention of causing anyone harm. ‘It was more a question of sarcasm and unsound humour,’ lawyer Peter Plasman said last October.

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