Jailed Muslims appeal to Dutch Supreme Court

21st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Two of the four Muslims convicted by an appeals court in The Hague on Monday will take their cases to the Supreme Court to have their sentences quashed. One of the men was sentenced to six years jail for involvement in a criminal gang linked to a plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris.

21 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Two of the four Muslims convicted by an appeals court in The Hague on Monday will take their cases to the Supreme Court to have their sentences quashed. One of the men was sentenced to six years jail for involvement in a criminal gang linked to a plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris.

The Supreme Court will thus make a final ruling whether information from the Dutch secret service AIVD can be used in court. Rotterdam Court ruled at the end of 2002 against the use of the evidence, but the appeals court in The Hague reversed that ruling on Monday.

The appeals court sentenced two Muslim men to six and four-year jail terms after convicting them of involvement in an international criminal organisation, which was planning a bomb attack on the US embassy in Paris. The attack was never carried out.

The convicted men were identified as 29-year-old Jerome Courtailler, a French convert to Islam and Algerian Abdelghani Rabia, 32. But the lawyer representing the Frenchman said later on Monday an appeal will be lodged with the Dutch Supreme Court.

Monday's convictions were the first time that Islamic extremists have been found guilty in the Netherlands for involvement in terrorism, news agency ANP reported. The prosecution had demanded six and five-year jail terms.

The court ruled that the two defendants did not actually plan an attack and were not accomplices to the planning of a terrorist attack.

But they were convicted of being involved in an international criminal gang which was involved in planning an attack. They were also convicted of involvement in a criminal organisation that — among its operations — was involved in the trade of forged passports.

Two other suspects were sentenced to 18 and 12-month jail terms respectively for involvement in a criminal organisation operating in the trade of forged passports. It said the organisation — which mainly operated in the Netherlands — was not focused on planning attacks.

The lawyer representing the man who was sentenced to the one-year jail term was amazed the court convicted the defendant and said an appeal for cassation will be lodged with the Supreme Court.

A fifth suspect — a Dutchman of Ethiopian origin — was acquitted on all charges.

Rotterdam Court had acquitted the men in December 2002 because confidential information from the Dutch secret service AIVD was unable to be used in court. The prosecution appealed against the trial court's ruling.

And the appeals court in The Hague said information from the AIVD is a "very good" base for the start of a criminal investigation or the issuing of arrest or search warrants on the condition that the information gives cause for reasonable suspicion. The court ruled in favour of the use of the AIVD information in respect to this case.

But it also said the AIVD information must be able to be verified, such as on the legality of its attainment and on the truthfulness of the information itself.

The court said the legality of attainment will only be tested if there is suspicion of a serious violation of human rights. The defence will be given an opportunity to place the evidence up for discussion and the judge must give the final ruling.

It will now be up to the Supreme Court to verify the ruling handed down by the appeal's court in The Hague.

Meanwhile, the four convicted men did not attend Monday's ruling and according to the Dutch public prosecutor, Courtailler is currently in France. Rabia was deported from the Netherlands after his initial acquittal and is believed to be in Algeria, French news agency AFP reported.

A prosecution spokeswoman was quoted as saying that both men will have to be detained and if they are arrested, the procedure for transferring them to a jail in the Netherlands should be "quite quick".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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