OM seeks heavy sentences for Hofstadgroep

26th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) demanded sentences on Wednesday of up to 20 years for 13 Dutch Muslims on trial in Amsterdam for alleged membership of a terrorist organisation.

26 January 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) demanded sentences on Wednesday of up to 20 years for 13 Dutch Muslims on trial in Amsterdam for alleged membership of a terrorist organisation.

Investigators gave the group the code-name 'Hofstadgroep' and alleged they met regularly to plot terrorism. The accused men claim they were just friends who met frequently to discuss Islam.

Jason W. and Ismail A. face the highest sentence. They were arrested after a day-long siege of a home in the Laak district of The Hague on 10 November 2004. The siege developed after five members of a police raiding party were injured by a grenade thrown by one of the two men.

Apart from the common charges relating to membership of an illegal organisation, the pair are also accused of attempting to kill police officers.

A third accused man, Nouriddin el F., faces a demand for 10 years. He was allegedly in possession of a loaded submachine gun when arrested by police in Amsterdam on 22 June 2005.

Prosecutor Koos Plooy submitted to the court that Mohammed B. was also guilty of membership of an illegal organisation. B. was jailed for life in July 2005 for murdering film director Theo van Gogh. Therefore, it is not possible to impose a further sentence on him.

Plooy told the court prosecuting B. for membership of the Hofstadgroep was a deliberate strategy. "We have made clear his prominent role in the organisation with this prosecution and succeeded in having him take public responsibility," the prosecutor said.

B.'s home was often used as a meeting place by the accused men.

Defence lawyers are to begin their final statements on Friday and the panel of three judges will deliver verdicts on 10 March.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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