Long sentences demanded in Hofstad retrial
In the retrial of the ‘Hofstad’ group, the Dutch Public Prosecution Office has demanded 17 years in prison against one of the main members of the alleged terrorist organisation.
Seven men are being retried for belonging to an organisation aimed at committing acts of terrorism. Members of the group were arrested in 2004, shortly after the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. One of the members of the group, Mohammed Bouyeri, is currently serving life for the murder - he is not involved in this trial. The PPO wants Jason Walters to be sentenced to 17 years in prison for throwing a hand grenade at police.
A court in The Hague found the men guilty in 2006, but two years later an appeal court ruled that the criteria used by the lower court were applied too strictly. The court of appeal overturned the terrorist aspect of the conviction. The Supreme Court ordered a retrial. Now the case is being retried in Amsterdam.
Siege Jason Walters was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2008 for five counts of attempted murder. The Muslim convert threw a hand grenade at a police team about to arrest him in The Hague. A 20-hour-long siege ensued. Eventually Jason Walters and Ismeal Akhnikh were arrested.
The PPO is now asking for a 17-year sentence, one year less than originally demanded, for attempted murder without a terrorist objective and for membership of a terrorist organisation.
Reprehensible The PPO says it is reprehensible that Jason Walters has never expressed regret to the police officers who were injured, while he has sought to place his actions in a sympathetic light in the press.
The prosecution has demanded a 38-month sentence against co-defendant Ismael Akhnikh for possession of a hand grenade and belonging to a terrorist organisation.
It has asked for 23 months in prison for four other suspects and 19 months for a seventh suspect in the case.
The public prosecution says the crimes are very serious as acts of terrorism not only cause suffering to those directly involved, but they are also aimed at disrupting democratic society.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide