Terror arrests 'prevented' attacks

7th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — A public prosecutor has told Rotterdam Court he is convinced that the arrest of 12 terrorist suspects — all of whom have been refused bail — thwarted one or more attacks in the Netherlands.

7 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — A public prosecutor has told Rotterdam Court he is convinced that the arrest of 12 terrorist suspects — all of whom have been refused bail — thwarted one or more attacks in the Netherlands.

Prosecutor Koos Plooy outlined the case against the members of the alleged terror network Main City Group (Hofstadgroep) in a procedural hearing on Monday.

He said the security service AIVD, police and prosecution department all have evidence against the suspects. "This data shows that we are dealing with a very radical group which made preparations for very serious crimes," he said.

The 12 suspects are charged with membership of a criminal and terrorist organisation. They are accused of plotting to kill MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen and the city's Social Affairs Alderman, Moroccan-born Ahmed Aboutaleb.

Police found in several computers the death threat letter addressed to Hirsi Ali that was left with the body of Theo van Gogh, who was murdered last November. The letter was also found on USB memory sticks being carried around by three other suspects.

A book about justifying and committing terrorist-style murders was also seized and various suspects were in possession of a letter urging violence in the Netherlands, the prosecutor said.

He called on the court to remand the suspects in custody for the duration of the investigation and the court granted the request. All 12 suspects thus had their remand detention extended by 90 days.

But lawyers for the 12 suspects have claimed the prosecutor's evidence is "not reliable" and "incoherent", news agency Novum reported.

All of the suspects were arrested in November last year. Two of them, Jason W. and Ismaël A., were detained after a long stand-off with specialist forces in The Hague. Four police officers had earlier been injured after a grenade was thrown from the suspects' home.

During a pre-trial hearing on 26 January in the case against Mohammed B., the suspected killer of Van Gogh, Amsterdam Court was told that W. and A. visited B. at his Amsterdam Slotervaart home on 1 November, the night before the brutal murder.

Both W. and A. were refused bail on Monday after the prosecutor revealed that three hand grenades were found in one of their jackets during their arrest on 10 November. The AIVD had both of them under surveillance for some time, and accuses both of them of attending a training camp in Pakistan.

It was also reported on Saturday that the AIVD had purposely rented a house to W. in The Hague that had been fitted with phone taps and other bugging equipment. He was subsequently arrested at that location.

The Hofstadgroep was named after The Hague, the seat of the Dutch royal house and Parliament. One alleged member of the group, Samir A., is accused of planning attacks against Schiphol Airport and the Dutch Parliament. His trial will start 24 February.

Investigations into the group are expected to take another three months.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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