Home Dutch News Thirty-year sentences for Dutch lawyer’s killers upheld

Thirty-year sentences for Dutch lawyer’s killers upheld

Published on 23/02/2023
Published from AFP.com

Dutch judges on Thursday upheld the 30-year jail terms of two men accused of shooting dead a defence lawyer in a drugs-related case in the Netherlands.

Lawyer Derk Wiersum was the main witness in a trial against the country’s biggest drug baron when the 44-year-old father of two was murdered in front of his Amsterdam home in September 2019.

Prosecutors had asked the Amsterdam Appeals Court to change the 30-year sentences, handed down in October last year, to life behind bars.

On Thursday, the court rejected the appeal.

The two men — named only as Moreno B. and Giermo B. by the Dutch media — killed Wiersum with “cold-blooded, terrifying professionalism, which can only be described as unscrupulous”, the appeals court said.

“Society should be protected from both men.”

“The purpose of the punishment is to deter others from committing the same type of offences,” the court said in a statement.

But “unlike the Public Prosecution Service, the court finds that this goal did not justify the imposition of a life sentence”, it added.

Wiersum was the lawyer for the state’s chief witness in the high-profile case against Ridouan Taghi, once described as the Netherland’s most-wanted drugs baron.

Wiersum’s client, Nabil B., turned state witness after surviving an assassination attempt.

Moroccan-born Taghi and 16 other men are currently on trial for a series of assassinations in recent years, with Taghi’s organisation described by prosecutors as a “well-oiled killing machine”.

The murders have been associated with the booming cocaine trade in the Netherlands, linked to an international cartel run out of Dubai.

Taghi was arrested in Dubai in December 2019 and extradited to the Netherlands.

The Netherlands’ best-known crime reporter Pieter R. de Vries was also shot dead in central Amsterdam as he was leaving a TV studio after an interview in July 2021.

De Vries had been Nabil B.’s confidant and advisor in the case against Taghi.