'I'm no Bin Laden,' Van Gogh killer says

2nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — The man jailed for life for the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 insisted in court on Thursday the Prophet Mohammed sanctioned the use of violence against non-believers.

2 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — The man jailed for life for the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 insisted in court on Thursday the Prophet Mohammed sanctioned the use of violence against non-believers.

Dutch-Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, spoke for almost two hours and thirty minutes in the high security Amsterdam-Osdorp courthouse. It was the closing stages of the trial of 14 Muslim men accused of membership of a terrorist organisation.

Investigators monitoring the men prior to their arrests dubbed them the Hofstad group or network. The accused men claim they met together only to discuss Islam.

Layers for other defendants have already made closing addresses to the three-judge panel.

Bouyeri, who cannot receive another sentence under Dutch law, opted to make a personal speech. It was expected it would contain some fireworks.

But observers afterwards agreed it was too long and confusing. Bouyeri did not address the prosecution's contention about the existence of a terrorist organisation, or the central role he allegedly played in it.

Journalists in court estimated 70 percent of his speech consisted of citations taken from a range of writers, including Michael Ignatieff and Jessica Stern. Bouyeri gathered the material from the prison library.

Dressed in a traditional Arabic garment with a red and white scarf on his head, Bouyeri began his address with a Muslim confession of his faith in Arabic. A translator interpreted his words for the court.

"Comparing me to Osama bin Laden does the man a great wrong and extends me too much honour I don't deserve," Bouyeri said.

"But it fills me with me with honour, pride and joy that you see me as the standard-bearer of Islam in Europe," he told the prosecution.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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