Murder trial Theo van Gogh
The seating arrangement in Dutch courts differs from the US court seating arrangement. In The Netherlands the three judges sit in the middle, the prosecutor sits on the right side of the judges and in front of both of them the defendant and his lawyers are seated. In this case the defended did not come to the court. But the family of the slaughtered Theo van Gogh did. His father, his mother and two sisters where sitting at the front row.
This special secure courtroom is often used when high profile cases are broadcasted on national TV. For example the hit man who shot Pim Fortuyn was also tried at this location, in front of live television. But as so often is the case, Dutch government demonstrates that is has no interest in a decent public presentation, it all looked like an amateur trial. The courtroom looked cheap and did not looked like a real courtroom and the public had to sit on all kind of different chairs. And take the appearance of prosecutor Frits van Straelen. When he wanted to start his speeking, he had to place him self a pulpit on his desk, before he could start his speech. Later we would see him fumble with his wireless microphone, he could not get it to work, not even the court assistants knew how it worked. But when he finally managed to get it working, he had to hold the small button microphone in his hand in front of him. Normally such a microphone is not visible when it sit on your suit.
But besides that it looked hilarious, some facts where hilarious too (And I am not refering to the fact that the clerk was a Moroccan). Isn't it hilarious to hear the defense claim that the prosecution only once tried to question Mohammed Bouyeri? Mohammed said right after his arrest, that he did not wanted to talk to the police. And after that, they never bothered to try to question him again…. Hilarious isn’t it? Or should I say disturbing?
More on that issue later. A reporter, who claims to have seen more pro-forma court cases, said this was an unusual trial day. He said that instead of the normal juristic jargon the prosecutor today was mainly speaking to the Dutch public. The prosecutor’s research was weeks ago already published in Dutch newspapers, we published that story: here. In this article only the new facts will get attention.
Most important news
- The assassination was planned; ten witnesses claim they have seen surveillances by the terrorist on different location on van Gogh’s regular route to his office.
- The night before the attack, 1 November, two other members of the Hofstad terror group met Mohammed Bouyeri (Jason W. and Ismael A).
- AIVD taped phone conversations of the, now detained, Hofstad cell members. They recorded them saying: “We have conform the authentic Islamic way, slaughtered the lam. This will be the punishment for each person that will offend Allah or his prophet. O you, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, tomorrow if Allah wants it, it’s your turn.” In the same phone conversation the caller claimed to belong to the group of Mohammed Bouyeri "the brigade of the Islamic Jihad". The phone conversation was made from the address in Den Haag (Antheunisstraat), where a week after the murder Jason W. en Ismail A. where arrested. The AIVD has still 20 hours of tapes, but did not have the time yet, to process them.
- The prosecutor only questioned Mohammed Bouyeri right after his arrest. At that time he did not wanted to cooperate. No further attempts where made.
- An AIVD (Dutch inteligence service) transcript of a conversation of Mohammed Bouyeri, was found in the house of Mohammed Bouyeri (See also: The Secret Service Mole story).
- Achmed H. (26), who lived at the same address as Mohammed Bouyeri, worked in a building opposite to where Theo van Gogh lived. He also has no albi for the time around the murder. Witnesses declare that they have seen him, together with two others, near the crime scene.
- The prosecutor knew on 2 november of the threats made against Wilders and Hirsi Ali, but waited to inform other services that handle the securiy (DKDB) of Wilders and Hirsi Ali. He says he first wanted to do some research and forwarded the information on 3 november. Strangly enough, Aboutaleb and burgomaster Cohen received protection that same day, but Wilders and Hirsi Ali only days later.
- The pro-forma trial date for the Hofstad terrorist trial in set on 7 february.
- The public prosecutor asked 3 months delay to finish his investigation.
- Murder on Theo van Gogh with terrorist intentions
- Attempted murder of 8 police officers with terrorist intentions
- Attempted murder on 2 bystanders with terrorist intentions
- Making death threats to Ayaan Hirsi Ali with terrorist intentions
- Obstructing Ayaan Hirsi Ali to attend a parliamentary meeting with terrorist intentions.
- Membership of a criminal organisation with terrorist intentions
- Conspiracy to murder with terrorist intentions
- Illegal possession of firearm and ammunition
Regarding the murder on Theo van Gogh, they have 53 eyewitnesses. Only some minor details where not reported earlier. New was that he gave more details on how the arrest took place.
After the slaughter Mohammed Bouyeri calmly walked through the park. When he wanted to leave the park, he walked into a police car. He walked to the car. The police officers in the car stayed passive. When Mohammed Bouyeri is only a few meters away from the car, he starts shooting on them. In panic the police car tries to flee, but crashes into a wall. Mohammed follows them calmly and continues shooting and hits one officer in the chest (he was wearing a bullet proof vest). When other police cars arrive, he shoots at these cars too. In all cars bullet holes where found.
Prosecutor Straelen, argues that Mohammed Bouyeri must have practiced because after the slaughter of Theo van Gogh, he put 15 new bullets in his clip to reload his gun. A task an untrained person can not easily do, according to the prosecutor.
He further thinks the murder was a catalyst for more division between the different ethnic groups in The Netherlands (Dutch vs. Islam). This trial should give a signal to al young people that they can better focus their attention on other activities. But he said, the extremist lecture they found, should not be regarded as representative for all Moroccans living in The Netherlands, it was only representative for the members of the Hofstad terror group.
He argued that Mohammed Bouyeri did commit a terrorist act as a warning to the Dutch and not only tried to silence Theo van Gogh.
He said that some said he radicalized because his plan, he wrote as a social worker where rejected by the municipality office. But the prosecutor says he was already radicalized before that. He has been arrested five times and three times he was violent against the police. One time he even tried to stab police officers. When they ordered him to lay down his knife he threw the knife at them. There was an other incident at the social service office, he had threatened the security officer with: "I kill you", "I will pull your hart out". His last arrest was in September 2004, when he was violent when he did not wanted to pay for public transport. After his arrest he refused to give the police a hand and said: “I hate you, I hate you” and he spitted on the ground.
These are remarkable facts, because right after the slaughter of Theo van Gogh, a public prosecutor said they had no records about Mohammed Bouyeri that were relevant. They only had some minor things, that were totally unrelated to his terrorist acts. Things like this make you understand why they do not recognize a terrorist when they see one: ignorance is bliss.
They found a lot of terrorist lecture in the home of Mohammed Bouyeri. And more proof of his suicide attack plan is found at the location of an other Hofstad terror member. This suspect claims to have received a small box, just two or three days before the murder on Theo van Gogh with the request to deliver them "in case something happens to me". In the small Nokia box they found four letters written by Mohammed. Three letters were for the family of Mohammed. The first was a farewell letter, in which he said he exchanged his sole for paradise. The other was a testament, in which he wrote that should live according to the rules of Islam like he did and that they should not repay his dept to the kufar (unbelievers). By this he meant his bank. He had redrawn the maximum amount of money from his bank, and he was 1000 Euro in the red. In a third letter he left the money.
The fourth letter was a letter addressed to Zakaria T. (21) . In it he writes that he will carry with him the "open letter to Hirsi Ali" and his farewell poem "baptized in blood" during his "3maliyyah" (operation or attack). The first he knifed on Theo van Gogh and the other is after his arrest found in his pocket. This letter also contained a USB stick.
The USB stick (portable memory device) contained: translated Jihad messages, the open letter to Hirsi Ali, his farwell poem, a letter addressed to the people of Holland, a letter to the Islamic youth, a letter to the Islamic Uma, a letter to the lying ‘Aalim and Imam, a letter to representative Wilders (similar as the one to representative Ayaan Hirsi Ali), a letter to alderman Aboutaleb (idem.) and other Jihad articles he wrote. On the computers of other Hofstad cell member police found the same documents.
An example of his Jihad lecture he wrote was an article with the English title: "To catch a wolf" for which he used an alias: Abu Zubair. In it he preaches revolution and predicts it will not take long before "the knights of Allah will march on the Binnenhof [Dutch parliament] and that they will rise the Tawheed flag in the middle of the square. The parliament will be renamed Sharia court and the chairman's hammer will go down to ratify the Islamic sentences. From the tower of Kok [refering to the private office of the minister president] will sound the praises for Allah."
He also wrote a new Islamic constitution for the Netherlands, consists of multiple parts. In part four he attacks the West and argues in favor for the Sharia and the need for Jihad. In his latest part, number 5, he also critiqued the AEL (Arab European League). The AEL wants to advance Sharia by using the democratic system. He argues that this is wrong, because both are incompatible with each other.
Interesting detail is, that he tried to smuggle a new written part 5 out of the prison hospital (he was shot in his leg during the arrest) via his visiting brother. This raises the question, how can Mohammed write such material in the first place. Isn’t he under surveillance? Does he even have access to computers? Was this ignorance? It is hard to believe.
The defense lawyer, P. Plasman, said that his client wanted to bear the full responsibilities of his actions. And that he does not want to plea for temporary insanity. Mohammed wants to be judged for his actions and does not want his mental health being checked by a shrink.
But the prosecutor wants to let his mental stability be researched. But the defense argued: How can the prosecutor reasonably think that the suspect is not sane, when at the same time he accuses him of 15 terrorist acts. The last time the defendant had to stand trial, he was also not found mentally instable either. Does the prosecution think, so he argues: that they can heal somebody from terrorism?
The prosecutor counters that “he had not always had these ideas that lead to this criminal acts, that is what we know for sure” and said that he wanted to research how he radicalized and why he wanted to pursuit goals that where not compatible with our society. The judge ruled that the psychological investigation should take place.
The defense also referred to minister Zalm, who has said after the assassination: “it is war”. The defense now says, that his client feels the same. When the defense lawyer is really going to use this line of argument, it could result in a groundbreaking court case. During wartime, very different rules apply. And let’s face it, Bin Laden declared war, Mohammed Bouyeri acted on the basis of this declaration, he did it all in the open and he was wearing a uniform.
To be continued.
Prosecution of Mohammed B.
Justice dossier assassination Theo van Gogh
Secret service mole
Transcript of prosecutor (Dutch)