Man, 44, jailed for planning terror attacks on Muslims

A 44-year-old man who plotted to carry out terrorist attacks on Muslims has been jailed for three years by a court in Zutphen. The court was told Vincent T had set up a Facebook group with the aim of 'combating Muslims' and had tried to recruit members and get hold of weapons online. He also planned to 'blast off leftwing leaders', naming television presenter turned politician Sylvana Simons as a potential target. The AIVD security service said it believed that T planned to put his words into action. He had also searched under terms such as 'killer for hire' and information about making bombs on the internet, the AIVD said. 'His active hunt for weapons and being in possession of nearly 2,000 bullets means T had past the phase of being a 'keyboard terrorist', the court said in its ruling. T is being held in the maximum security prison in Vught. The Dutch counter terrorism unit NCTV said last month there has been a rise in right wing extremism in Western Europe as a whole but the situation in the Netherlands is not yet as serious as in the early 1990s. In the Netherlands, far right violence is usually unorganised and involves small groups who don’t feel the need to be part of a known organisation, the NCTV says. According to official figures, there were 45 cases of far-right violence in the Netherlands in 2016, the most recent figures in the report.  More >

More reports of sex abuse in sports clubs

Reports of abusive behaviour in sporting organisations have increased in the past year, according to the NRC Handelsblad. The paper quotes the victim aid organisation Slachtofferhulp Nederland, which said that 70 people reported this kind of abuse in 2018, compared with just 30 in 2017. Behaviour ranged from ‘a hand on someone’s buttock to sexual assault and rape,’ board member Victor Jammers told the NRC. Most of the reports came from alleged victims, although sports associations and friends also got in touch with Slachtofferhulp Nederland. The vast majority involved children under the age of consent, and slightly more than half were female. Last week, the Telegraaf newspaper claimed that a suspended athletics coach, Jerry M., who sexually abused girls for more than three decades, was first reported to police in 2000. The report sparked allegations that alerts were not properly followed up. A special commission led by former minister Klaas de Vries reported in 2017 that one in eight children and teenagers had experienced unwanted sexual attention in sports clubs – mostly from coaches or team leaders. It said the clubs needed to do much more to prevent abuse. It is unclear whether the increased number of reports to Slachtofferhulp Nederland is related to more awareness, or a rise in incidents.  More >

Fast-track court process falls out of use

A gavel in a courtroom. The fast-track court procedure set up to deal with public order offenders is hardly being used for New Year incidents, the prosecution service has admitted. Just one person was convicted this year under the supersnelrecht system, continuing the trend from the previous two years. A total of 328 people were arrested during the night of New Year's Eve, traditionally one of the busiest times of year for the emergency services. The man was convicted on January 3 of insulting police officers and given a fine of €1,000. The procedure was designed to reduce the caseload resulting from public events such as New Year's Eve, King's Day and major football matches. Suspects appear in court within three to six days, usually for offences such as violent disorder, threatening emergency services personnel and arson. It has also been used in shoplifting cases. Legal experts have criticised the system, introduced in 2011, for encouraging 'sloppy' justice. Criminal law professor Henny Sackers told the Volkskrant: 'Super-fast justice only works if the suspect confesses and there are no victims... [It] promised much, but in practice it has delivered little.' An investigation by RTL Nieuws in 2014 found that in 60% of quickfire cases judges imposed a lower sentence than the prosecution demanded. Since then the number of cases brought under the procedure at New Year has been drastically reduced, the Volkskrant said.  More >

Sex abuse coach 'first reported in 2000'

An athletics coach who sexually abused young girls over a period of 35 years was first reported to police in 2000, the Telegraaf reports. Jerry M., from Rotterdam, had sex with nine girls aged between 11 and 18 at three athletics clubs, a disciplinary investigation by the sport's governing body Atletiekunie has found. At least two of his victims became pregnant as a result. M. was never prosecuted because none of his victims filed formal police complaints. The Telegraaf said on Monday that one woman reported an incident in 2000 and was interviewed by the sexual offences division for two hours, but decided not to make a formal complaint. She told the newspaper: 'I was on my own, you know. If another report came in, I would have made a complaint. But unfortunately the police have lost my report.' The Atletiekunie has been criticised for not following up earlier indications that M. was abusing girls. In 2009 it received a report of inappropriate behaviour by M. at CAV Energie in Barendrecht. The club dismissed him from its training staff but the union did not investigate further. The Atletiekunie began an investigation and banned M. from coaching in 2017 after a 21-year-old athlete reported that he had touched her in the groin area. The public prosecution service is checking whether it received other reports of his behaviour between 1983 and 2017. M. has also been suspended from his job as a bus driver with RET.  More >

Dutch murder rate drops to two a week

The number of murders in the Netherlands has fallen sharply this year, after a notable rise in 2017, according to website Moordatlas, which monitors the crime figures. By December 27, there had been 108 murders in 101 separate cases but that figure could still change depending on the result of police investigations, the website said. For example, a deadly accident on the A10 motorway just before Christmas in which two people died is likely to have been a case of road rage, and therefore manslaughter, the website said. In total 40 of the murder victims this year were female - all of whom were killed by someone they knew, usually a partner or ex partner, Moordatlas compiler Eric Sloot said. Four of the dead women were students, all murdered by 'obsessed men', Sloot said. Just two of the known killers were women and five of the cases were murder suicides. Some16 murders are thought to be gangland-related - using the police definition - or 19 if the four men killed at a growshop in Enschede are included, Sloot said. Most murders - 14 - took place in Amsterdam, followed by Rotterdam with 12. The province of Noord-Brabant was the most deadly region, with 17 murders. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is back at the same level of killings as in 2016 - and 1973, when the number of murders topped 100 and first started to rise. The murder rate has been falling steadily since the turn of the century, apart from last year which surged to 158.  More >

Five arrested on terrorism charges

Five men have been arrested in Rotterdam and Germany on charges of preparing a terrorist attack, broadcaster NOS said on Saturday. Four were arrested early on Saturday morning at homes in the centre and east of the port city and the fifth man was picked up later in the day in Germany on the request of the Dutch authorities. The first four are aged 20 to 30 and have a ‘non-western’ background, broadcaster NOS said. One is said to be a Syrian refugee with residency status named as Saleh H. A second man is said to be an Egyptian national. The wife of the Syrian refugee told the Telegraaf she had no idea what is going on. Speaking in the 15th floor flat, where the front door has already been repaired and with a Christmas tree in the corner of the room, she told the paper that everyone was asleep in bed when the police burst in. A neighbour said the man worked at a nearby garage repairing cars. No weapons Five to six homes were also searched during the raids but no weapons or IS related material were found, NOS said. The broadcaster says police received ‘indications’ the men were planning to 'do something' a few days ago. The police have declined to comment further on the case while they carry out further investigations into the ‘terrorist threat’. Rotterdam It is not the first time terrorist suspects have been arrested in Rotterdam. In June, two men were picked up after a tip off from the AIVD security service. The public prosecution department said at the time they were suspected of organising an imminent attack which would ‘result in a lot of victims’. And one of the seven men arrested in another terrorist investigation in September came from Rotterdam. Several others had lived there or in the vicinity. In March 2016, four men were arrested on terrorism charges in Rotterdam, including a French national suspected and in December 2017, four other men were picked up in the city, following a tip-off from the Swedish authorities. At the beginning of this year, AIVD chief Rob Bertholee told a television show the agency has foiled ‘three or four’ serious potential terrorist attacks in the Netherlands over the past six years. Note: This article was updated on 31.12 to reflect the fact the fifth arrest was made in Germany.  More >

Third arrest in schoolgirl murder case

Police badge and radio. Police have arrested another man in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old girl at her school in Rotterdam. The man, aged 31, comes from Rotterdam and is the third to be arrested in the investigation into the shooting on December 18. Shortly after the murder, a 31-year-old man named as Bekir E and said to be Humeyra’s former boyfriend, was arrested. A 25-year-old man was also arrested and later released. The police investigation so far has shown that E came to the school with at least two other people. Humeyra was shot dead in the college bicycle sheds just 45 minutes before she was due to meet police to talk about being stalked. In August, Beker E was convicted of stalking her, physical assault and making threats, and was subject to a banning order. Justice ministry inspectors are also investigating why he had not been arrested earlier for breaking the terms of the banning order.   More >

Burglars most active at Christmas

Burglars remain at their most active during the holiday season, with insurers receiving twice as many claims compared to the rest of the year, broadcaster NOS reported on Friday. There is a downward trend, however, with the number of burglaries or attempted burglaries around Christmas falling to 60,700 last year, 6% down on 2016. ‘This still translates to seven insurance claims an hour and seven traumatised victims,’ a spokesperson for the insurers association told the broadcaster. Most burglaries occurred in Limburg (101 per 10,000) and Flevoland (109 per 10,000). Friesland saw the fewest burglaries with 45 per 10,000 households. Friday and Saturday nights, when people are most often away, are the most popular for breaking and entering. Insurers and police recommend making sure locks are in order and to asking neigbours to keep an eye on your home in your absence.  More >