Saturday 03 December 2022

Prosecutors to demand life sentence for ‘gangland chief’ Ridouan Taghi

Ridouan Taghi in a photo issued by police

Prosecutors are expected to demand a life sentence for Ridouan Taghi, the chief suspect in the Marengo multiple gangland murder trial, on Tuesday.

Taghi, 44, is accused of masterminding six fatal shootings in the space of 18 months and plotting another seven attacks. ‘If everything had worked out it would have amounted to almost one fatality a month,’ the prosecution said.

Taghi and most of his 16 co-defendants will hear today what sentences the prosecution argues the court should impose for their part in the killings.

The Marengo trial, one of the biggest and most complicated court cases in the history of the Netherlands, began three months ago in the high-security courtroom on the outskirts of Amsterdam known as the Bunker. The name was chosen at random to avoid any insinuations of guilt.

The victims include Ronald Bakker, the owner of a spyware shop who was shot dead in his car, Martin Kok, a former gangster turned crime blogger who wrote about Taghi, and Samir Erraghib, who was killed in his car while his daughter sat on the back seat.

Revenge

The prosecution claims the motivation in almost every case was revenge for talking to the police or rival gangs, or to deter people from doing so.

In some cases the gunmen were caught and jailed, but police were unable to find out who gave the orders. The breakthrough came in 2017 following a case of mistaken identity involving a member of Taghi’s gang, Nabil B.

B. organised the getaway car for an assassination, but the gunman shot a friend of B., Hakim Changachi, instead of the intended victim. B. confessed his role to Changachi’s family and then sought police protection because he feared Taghi would exact revenge.

B.’s brother, his lawyer, Derk Wiersum, and the investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries, who advised him, have all been shot dead since he turned crown witness. Prosecutors are demanding a 10-year jail sentence for B., around half what would usually be imposed for his role.

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