Mohammed B. case begins in high-security courthouse
26 January 2005AMSTERDAM — A public prosecutor is to give a summary in court on Wednesday of the results so far in the ongoing investigation into Mohammed B., the man accused of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh last year.
26 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — A public prosecutor is to give a summary in court on Wednesday of the results so far in the ongoing investigation into Mohammed B., the man accused of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh last year.
The procedural hearing, known as a pro forma sitting, is being held in the high-security Amsterdam-Osdorp court building.
The court, often referred to as the "bunker", was also used for the trial of Volkert van der Graaf when he was tried and jailed for murdering populist politician Pim Fortuyn in May 2002.
Prosecutor Frits van Straelen is to outline the progress in the investigation into the Van Gogh murder to date and he is expected to ask the court to order that B. be sent to the Pieter Baan Centre in Utrecht for a psychiatric assessment. The prosecution, news service NOS reported, wants a clearer picture of B.'s personality as he has exercised his right to silence during questioning by police.
A small number of B.'s friends and a large number of journalists and camera crews had gathered outside the court by 9am. Several people have also turned up to show their support for Van Gogh and members of his family.
B, 26, who holds Dutch and Moroccan nationality, has decided not to attend the hearing and will remain in his cell in a prison near The Hague.
The Amsterdammer faces charges of murdering Theo van Gogh, attempted murder of police officers, endangering bystanders, membership of a terrorist organisation and possession of a gun and knives in the east of the city on 2 November 2004. He is further charged with hindering the work of parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Generally, Dutch courts do not impose a life sentence in cases involving the murder of one person. But the court could decide the circumstances of a case are serious enough to merit the heaviest sentence known to Dutch law.
If convicted of hindering an MP in the course of his or her work, the defendant could also face a life sentence.
The pro forma sitting is scheduled to begin at 10am on Wednesday and it will be televised with a 15-minute delay by Dutch television.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, Theo van Gogh