New trial against Dutch terrorist group

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A trial reopens in The Hague on Friday against seven men who were suspected of belonging to a terrorist group.

Referred to by Dutch police as the Hofstad Group, they were convicted in 2006 of being a criminal organisation with terrorist aims, but six of them won their appeal in 2008. The seventh member, Jason Walters, is serving a fifteen year jail term for assaulting police with a handgrenade when he was arrested in 2004.

The Hofstad Group was suspected of preparing the murder of Dutch Islam critic and film director Theo van Gogh in 2004, and of supporting the murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri who was seen as the leader of the group and handed a life sentence in 2005. The Hofstad Group was ideologically motivated by radical Islamism.

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ordered a retrial by the Amsterdam court. The point at issue is whether the suspects formed a terrorist organisation or a criminal one.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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