MPs slam terror trial acquittal
7 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said she is very afraid after Rotterdam Court cleared a man accused of plotting terrorist attacks in the Netherlands.
7 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said she is very afraid after Rotterdam Court cleared a man accused of plotting terrorist attacks in the Netherlands.
Samir A., 18, was sentenced to three months jail by the court on Wednesday for possession of an empty ammunition holder, a silencer and fake pistol. As he has been in custody since June 2004 he was released yesterday from the detention centre in Nieuwegein near Utrecht.
The judges found there was insufficient evidence to convict him of plotting bomb attacks against the Dutch Parliament and other key installations. The public prosecutor is to appeal the decision.
Several newspapers and media websites published a photograph showing him punching a photographer for the daily 'Het Parool' newspaper shortly after he was freed. A. was reportedly unhappy with the media attention upon his release.
Meanwhile, in an article published in newspaper 'Algemeen Dagblad' on Thursday, MP Hirsi Ali made clear she disagreed with the verdict and feared the potential consequences of the decision. "There is now someone walking around with plans to blow up the Tweede Kamer (Parliament), or Schiphol (Airport)," she said.
She said she heard the news of the acquittal from one of her bodyguards who accompany her at all times. She indicated that she found the court ruling very worrying.
Hirsi Ali, a member of the Liberal VVD party, and Geert Wilders, an independent right-wing MP who split with the VVD last year, have recently come out of hiding.
They face death threats for their forthright criticism of Islam and what they see as anti-Western behaviour by some Muslims.
The security service AIVD has indicated Hirsi Ali is high up on a death list drawn up by the 'Hofstadgroep'.
A dozen young Muslim men, plus Samir A., face trial in relation to the Hofstadgroep, which the security service claims is an Islamic terrorist network dedicated to launching attacks in the Netherlands.
Mohammed B., 26, who is on trial for murdering filmmaker and Muslim critic Theo van Gogh has been described as a peripheral member of the group.
A note pinned to Van Gogh's body with a knife warned that Hirsi Ali would be the next victim if she did not stop her criticism of Islam.
Meanwhile, Wilders also reacted angrily to Wednesday's acquittal. He described the decision as an "outrageous, life threatening verdict" and he accused the judges of being naïve.
Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner was said to be too busy monitoring the huge terror drill in Amsterdam on Wednesday to comment about the case.
Interior Minister Johan Remkes, who is responsible for the police, and several other politicians also expressed unhappiness with the verdict.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news + terror trial