Van Gogh suspect faces 'revolutionary' jail term
14 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The allegations laid against the suspected murderer of Theo van Gogh have been expanded and he is now accused of preventing Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali from carrying out her work, a charge that carries a life sentence.
14 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — The allegations laid against the suspected murderer of Theo van Gogh have been expanded and he is now accused of preventing Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali from carrying out her work, a charge that carries a life sentence.
The new charge is based on the letter that was left plunged into Van Gogh's body with a knife, warning that Hirsi Ali and several other politicians were next. Hirsi Ali subsequently went into hiding and has not since reappeared in Parliament.
The intense security measures needed to ensure her safety — and which reportedly included her being flown by the Dutch military to the US — are allegedly preventing her from carrying out her parliamentary work.
But dismissing criticism of Hirsi Ali's continued absence from parliament late last year, Liberal VVD party leader Jozias van Aartsen said an MP did not only have to appear in parliament to carry out political work. And she is now expected to return after the Christmas recess on Tuesday.
Hirsi Ali co-produced the film "Submission" with Van Gogh. The film — which is critical of domestic abuse within the Islamic faith — is thought to be a prime motivation in Van Gogh's murder. The Somali-born Hirsi Ali is now planning a follow-up film and is writing a book to assist Muslims find a shortcut to enlightenment.
Meanwhile, in response to the new charge, the lawyer representing murder suspect Mohammed B. said the public prosecutor was trying to get as much material as possible to ensure his client would be jailed for a long time.
"The contents of the letter were known right away on 2 November [the day of Van Gogh's murder], so why come out now with this charge?" lawyer Peter Plasman asked.
Plasman also said it was strange that Hirsi Ali had not given testimony to the prosecutor, despite the fact that it must be proven that she was in fear for her life.
Dutch-Moroccan national Mohammed B., a suspected Islamic militant, faces two life sentences for the murder of Van Gogh and the charge of preventing Hirsi Ali from carrying out her work. The 26-year-old will face a pre-trial hearing in Amsterdam Court on 26 January.
The latter charge relates to disrupting the democratic process and dates back to 1886, when the law was legislated to tackle revolutionary crimes. Dutch authorities at the time feared a violent socialist revolution, news service NOS reported on Thursday night.
The charge is also expected to be laid against all 12 members of the alleged terror network Main City Group (Hofstadgroep). Among other allegations, the suspects are accused of plotting to kill Hirsi Ali and right-wing independent MP Geert Wilders.
One of the suspected members of the network, 18-year-old Samir A. is accused of planning an attack against the parliament in The Hague and other targets, such as the Borssele nuclear reactor and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. His trial will start in Rotterdam Court on 24 February.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news