Wednesday 10 August 2022

Willem Holleeder loses appeal, is guilty of ordering contract killings

Holleeder in court. Illustration Aloys Oosterwijk ANP

Dutch crime boss Willem Holleeder has lost his appeal against a life sentence handed down to him in 2019 for his role in five contract killings.

The appeal court said there is sufficient evidence that Holleeder ordered the killings between 2003 and 2006. The victims included Holleeder’s brother-in-law Cor van Hout, who collaborated with him in the kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken in the 1980s.

In particular, the evidence of key witnesses was crucial in obtaining the conviction, including that of Holleeder’s two sisters Sonja and Astrid, the court said. ‘But this is not about the word of Holleeder against that of his sisters,’ the court said.

Holleeder and his legal team insist there is no evidence linking him directly to the murders, and nothing via phone taps or dna research.

The case, which started in 2018, ran to a thousand files with a total of 500,000 pages.

Holleeder will now appeal to the Supreme Court. That court will not look again at the evidence, but will decide if proper procedures were followed during the appeal hearing.

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