Expatica news

Dutch appeals court asked to jail terror suspects

19 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public prosecutor asked an appeals court in The Hague on Wednesday to impose jail terms of up to six years on five suspected Islamic terrorists accused of planning a bomb attack on the US embassy in Paris.

Two of the suspects — identified as 29-year-old Jerome Courtailler and an Algerian identified as Abdelghani Rabia — are facing a six and a five-year jail term respectively. Three other suspects are accused of playing lesser, supporting roles and face lower prison terms.

Rotterdam Court acquitted all five defendants in December 2002 because the prosecution arrested them and conducted house raids based solely on information from the Dutch secret service AIVD, known back then as the BVD.

But the court said the prosecution acted unlawfully because the secret service’s evidence could not be used in court for state security reasons. The court also said there was insufficient evidence to convict the suspects.

A second “terrorist trial” also ended in acquittals in June 2003 because the AIVD evidence could not be used in court.

The controversial ruling forced Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner to admit that the Dutch fight against terror had been placed under pressure. He indicated that he would investigate legislative change to allow AIVD evidence to be used in court.

The Cabinet thus resolved on 29 April to expand the options of using AIVD evidence in court, allowing prosecutors the contents of official reports to be explained before an examining judge.

The legislative bill will enable judges to hear testimony from AIVD agents when he or she wants to investigate the origin of certain information. AIVD staff may remain anonymous if necessary.

The proposal has been lodged with the Council of State for consideration, after which it will be submitted to the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer. The Parliament must first pass the bill before it can become law.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news