Eleven go on trial for Belgium, Dutch murders

10th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The eleven people are charged with murder.

HE HAGUE—Eleven people went on trial Monday charged in connection with an underworld settling-of-accounts that saw the murder of five people in the Netherlands and two in Belgium in 1993, 2005 and 2006.

Fourteen months have been set aside for the proceedings, which follow a major investigation that involved 500 telephone wiretaps, prosecutors and judicial officials said.

Chief among the 11 accused—one of whom is a woman—is a 40-year-old male who is suspected of involvement in all seven killings.

The first murders were recorded in March 1993 when the charred bodies of two Yugoslavs aged 19 and 22 were found shot dead inside a car that was set on fire in Ouderkerken aan de Amstel, near Amsterdam.

Three weeks later, the manager of a sports school was shot dead in a hotel parking lot in Amsterdam, followed in May 1993 by the discovery of the remains of a Greek diamond merchant and his female companion in Antwerp, Belgium.

In May 2005, a real estate agent suspected of drug-dealing was fatally shot outside his villa in an Amsterdam suburb. Then in April 2006 an Amsterdam bar owner was shot five times and killed in his own establishment.

One of the accused, a former Dutch gangland member who turned himself in to police in Amsterdam in 2006, has reportedly given statements that implicate the other co-accused.

Some 257 witnesses are lined up to testify, with around 10,000 pages of testimony to be put before the court, prosecutors say.


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