The Netherlands: Key witness' lawyer assassinated in Amsterdam next to his wife


The Living Force
Source: Shock and outrage as top lawyer is shot dead in Amsterdam -

Shock and outrage as top lawyer is shot dead in Amsterdam

September 18, 2019

Lawyers, the police and politicians have reacted with shock and horror at the ‘unprecedented’ murder of a top criminal lawyer, who was shot dead in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning.

Derk Wiersum was defending a crown witness in a major gangland investigation and there are suggestions there may be a connection with the case. The national terrorism agency NCTV has been drafted in to help with the investigation.

Wiersum was representing Nabil B, a key witness in the case against gangland boss Ridouan Taghi. Taghi is said to be behind a string of killings in Utrecht and Amsterdam in the ongoing ‘mocro mafia’ drugs wars.

Last year Nabil B’s brother was also shot dead, in what is thought to have been either a warning to Nabil not to testify or a case of mistaken identity.

Today's shooting happened around 7.30am. Neighbors reported hearing several shots and the gunman, said to be aged 16 to 20 and dressed in black, made off on foot. According to some witnesses Wiersum was with his wife when he was killed.

Wiersum was a partner in a major Amsterdam law firm and focused on cases involving organized crime. He had previously warned that the public prosecution department is not doing enough to protect crown witnesses. He was also a part-time judge.

Flowers have been left by well-wishers at the door of the law firm where he worked.

Bloemen bij het advocatenkantoor van de overleden #advocaat #Derkwiersum in #Amsterdam. mensen uiten hun medeleven. De deken van de Amsterdamse #orde van Advocaten vertelde net dat dit een aanslag is op de rechtstatelijke orde van Nederland.
— Silvia Brens (@SilviaBrens) September 18, 2019
DeepL Translator said:
Flowers at the law firm of the deceased #lawyer #Derkwiersum in #Amsterdam. people express their sympathy. The dean of the Amsterdam Bar Association has just told us that this is an attack on the constitutional order of the Netherlands.
- Silvia Brens (@SilviaBrens) September 18, 2019

Prime minister Mark Rutte and legal affairs minister Sander Dekker said they are extremely shocked by the killing and Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has called an emergency meeting of police chiefs and justice ministry officials. ‘This case has the highest priority,’ the mayor said.

‘Details are still sketchy so we must be careful about drawing conclusions, but it is shocking that such a thing can happen in our democracy. We wish his family and colleagues much strength at this difficult time,’ the Dutch bar association said in a statement.

National police chief Erik Akerboom described the murder as brutal. ‘This brutal murder has broken new boundaries,’ he said. ‘Now people just doing their job would not appear to be safe.’

Further coverage and updates:
09:23 - Key witness' lawyer assassinated in Amsterdam
10:37 - Attorney’s assassination shocks Dutch PM, lawyer groups
12:50 - Slain attorney, father of two, killed next to his wife
13:50 - Amsterdam city council wants emergency debate after lawyer's shocking murder
18:31 - Defense attorney slaying investigated by Dutch counter-terrorism agency

A very sad situation -"the city said it “has given free rein ... to a motley crew of drugs, criminals, a ring of hustlers and parasites, middlemen and extortionists, of dubious notaries and real estate agents”. Maybe now, the authorities will take stronger legal measures in handling these problems?

"The prime suspect in the case is 41-year old Ridouan Taghi, who remains at large." The authorities should arrange to have Taghi's name place on the Interpol list?

Dutch lawyer defending witness in drug killings case shot dead
September 18, 2019 - AMSTERDAM - A Dutch lawyer in a high-profile case against a group of men charged with drug-related killings was gunned down in front of his Amsterdam home on Wednesday in an attack condemned as a threat to the nation’s legal system.

Police said the victim was 44-year-old Derk Wiersum, a defense lawyer for Nabil Bakkali, a key witness for the prosecution in the case against 16 men accused of five murders and one attempted murder in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2017.

Gun violence remains rare in the Netherlands and such a killing of a defense lawyer is unprecedented, but Amsterdam has been experiencing an upsurge of drug-related crime.

Bakkali’s brother, who police say had nothing to do with the gang or the murders, was also killed at work last year, a week after authorities identified Bakkali as a witness.

Lawyers, prosecutors and judges responded with disbelief, issuing a joint statement warning of a threat to the country’s legal institutions.

“His loss hurts us all,” the statement distributed by the national prosecution service said. “This event is not just a personal drama, but also a serious threat to our legal system.”

The Netherlands’ counter-terrorism agency NCTV was put in charge of the investigation, Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said. He skipped a parliamentary debate about the budget to discuss what he called the “disgusting murder” of a highly respected lawyer.

“This is an attack on our rule of law,” a visibly shaken Grapperhaus said. “The safety of people who work to guard that must be beyond question.”

Security teams were being formed to protect other officials involved in the case, he said, an unusual measure in the Netherlands.

Concern has been growing about crime in Amsterdam, a city of 800,000 people where recreational drug use has long been tolerated by law enforcement and an underworld of dealers and suppliers has flourished.

A report last month commissioned by the city said it “has given free rein ... to a motley crew of drugs criminals, a ring of hustlers and parasites, middlemen and extortionists, of dubious notaries and real estate agents”.

Police said they were looking for a 16- to 20-year old man dressed in black who fled the scene after the shooting shortly after 7.30 a.m. local time (0530 GMT). No one involved in the case is known to have been provided with extra security.

Bakkali is among those accused in the case, which is likely to go to trial next year, but has since 2017 provided police with over 1,500 pages of statements against the group in return for a lower sentence, preliminary court proceedings have shown.

The prime suspect in the case is 41-year old Ridouan Taghi, who remains at large. Through his lawyer, Taghi has denied all accusations. Other suspects, 11 of whom are in custody, have remained silent throughout the case so far.
Thanks for the addition, angelburst29. :cool2:
"The prime suspect in the case is 41-year old Ridouan Taghi, who remains at large." The authorities should arrange to have Taghi's name place on the Interpol list?
According to this webpage he certainly is on their list.

The problem is that Morocco doesn't extradite its citizens to foreign governments as was shown previously in an older case but if apprehended he could be trialed in Morocco eventually.
Dutch police investigations led to Hamza B. who had meanwhile fled to Morocco; but even though his arrest was at the request of Dutch authorities, he could not be extradited because Morocco does not hand over its citizens to foreign Governments.
Source: Appeal begins in shock murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum

Tuesday, 24 January 2023 - 08:05

Appeal begins in shock murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal will start the appeal process against the two men convicted of murdering defense lawyer Derk Wiersum in the high-security courtroom at Schiphol on Tuesday. The court sentenced the two to 30 years in prison in 2021 after the Public Prosecution Service (OM) had demanded life imprisonment. Wiersum (44) was one of the lawyers representing the key witness in the still ongoing assassinations trial around Ridouan Taghi.

Wiersum was shot dead at his home in Buitenveldert, Amsterdam, on 18 September 2019. The murder hit the Netherlands like a bomb. In March 2018, the key witness Nabil B.’s brother had also been murdered, a few days after the OM announced that B. made a deal to turn witness. In July 2021, the third violent death around Nabil B. followed: crime journalist Peter R. de Vries, who acted as the key witness’s confidant, was shot in the center of Amsterdam and died nine days later.

It is widely believed that Taghi is behind the murders to get revenge on the “traitor” Nabil B. However, nothing has been proven in this regard. The investigation into who ordered the murders is still ongoing. In the Marengo assassinations trial, the OM demanded life in prison against Taghi last year.

The two alleged perpetrators of Wiersum’s murder, Moreno B. (34) and Giermo B. (39), deny that they killed the lawyer. They and the OM appealed against the court’s verdict. The court will hear several witnesses in the appeal. Eye witnesses’ descriptions of the shooter are one of the topics up for discussion because they would not match that of the suspects.

The court has set aside five days up to and including February 1 to handle the appeal.

Reporting by ANP
Source: OM demands life sentence against suspects in the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum

Saturday, 28 January 2023 - 11:55

Public Prosecutor demands life sentence against suspects in the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum

On Friday, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded a life sentence for the two suspects in the murder case of lawyer Derk Wiersum. According to the OM, the "cold-blooded" murder was intended to "influence the course of the Marengo trial, for example by breaking the willingness of the main witness to testify." According to the judiciary, "a clear and unmistakable signal" must be sent to contract killers who do not shy away from attacking the rule of law.

Wiersum, 44, was one of the lawyers for Nabil B., the main prosecution witness in Marengo, the large-scale, long-running liquidation trial of prime suspect Ridouan Taghi. The legal adviser was shot dead at his home in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert on September 18, 2019.

The two suspects, Moreno B. (34) and Giërmo B. (39, not related), are on trial at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal in the high-security hall of Schiphol Airport. They also denied on appeal that they were the perpetrators of the shocking murder. The court sentenced them to 30 years in prison in 2021, following a demand for life imprisonment. Both the defendants and the prosecution appealed the verdict.

However, the OM considers the two men to be so-called accomplices. Apparently, they worked closely together in the preparation and execution of the contract killings. The crime was preceded by numerous investigative procedures. First by so-called spotters, who observed the corridors of the intended target. From the end of August 2019, Moreno B. and Giërmo B. are said to have taken over. Using stolen cars, they allegedly drove through Wiersum's residential neighborhood several times before finally striking. The lawyer was shot as he got into his car shortly after 7:30 a.m. to drive to work. "He didn't have a chance," the Public Prosecution Service said.

The defendants' denial statements are implausible, according to the judiciary. "Lies, falsehoods and implausibilities," summarized the Advocate General. He pointed out that "openness" can mitigate punishment even if the defendants do not show the back of their tongues.

In March 2018, Nabil B.'s brother, Reduan, was murdered. Later, In July 2021 followed the murder of Peter R. de Vries, a confidant of the key witness. The connection between the murders seems obvious, the judiciary agreed. Therefore, the intermediaries and principals are still under investigation. The murderer of Reduan is now irrevocably convicted. Seven suspects are in custody as part of the investigation into the murder of De Vries, including the two alleged perpetrators. The trial against them is still ongoing.

On Tuesday, the lawyers for the suspects in the Wiersum case will make their pleas.

Reporting by ANP
Source: Men convicted in shocking murder of attorney Derk Wiersum get 30 years on appeal
Thursday, 23 February 2023 - 15:39

Men convicted in shocking murder of attorney Derk Wiersum get 30 years on appeal

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal upheld the sentences handed down to two men convicted in the murder of 44-year-old criminal defense attorney Derk Wiersum. Moreno B. and Giermo B. were again sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing Wiersum in broad daylight in front of his Amsterdam-Buitenveldert home. Just like in the first trial, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) recommended that the judges presiding over the appeal sentence the men to life in prison.

The father of two was shot multiple times at 7:30 a.m. on September 18, 2019. He had just said goodbye to his wife when a gunman approached Wiersum's car. The gun jammed, and Wiersum got out of his vehicle. The shooter kept pulling the trigger, shooting Wiersum repeatedly. A gunshot wound to the head proved to be fatal. Moreno B. was 33 at the time of the shooting, while Giermo B. was 37. They were both accused of planning and carrying out the murder, though it was never conclusively determined who pulled the trigger.

Wiersum was part of the legal team representing Nabil B., the key witness in the sprawling Marengo proceedings. The name was given to the case against suspected organized crime boss Ridouan Taghi and many of his alleged associates who are on trial for multiple counts of assassination and attempted murder.

The court noted that Wiersum's murder not only caused intense pain for his loved ones, but also caused a deep sense of social unrest. The court did affirm that Wiersum was not the only person connected to Nabil B. who was murdered. B.'s brother was also killed a year earlier. "The convicted men knew that Wiersum was a lawyer. It must have been clear to them that a murder of a lawyer would cause a great social shock," the court said in a statement. Prosecutors said it was clear that the men suspected of killing Wiersum knew about his connection to the Marengo case, but the court disagreed, and said it was not definitively proven.

Unlike the lower court ruling, the Court of Appeal did not mention the murder of journalist Peter R. de Vries, who had been assisting B. on several matters. De Vries was also killed in Amsterdam one year after Wiersum's slaying.

Although the court said the assassination demonstrated "a cold-blooded, terrifying professionalism," it ultimately decided against issuing a life sentence. "Aside from retribution, the purpose of the sentence is to deter others from committing these types of offenses. Unlike the Public Prosecution Service, the court finds that this goal does not justify the imposition of a life sentence in the case of the convicted men."

The attorneys representing Moreno B. said they would appeal the ruling, according to news-wire ANP. Giermo B.'s lawyer said it was too early to say what their next move would be.

Several other Taghi associates and family members have been accused of plotting Wiersum's murder. Their trial was expected to happen later this year, possibly after the summer.
Similar: Appeal court upholds 30 year jail terms for lawyer murder -

Dutch coverage:
In hoger beroep opnieuw twee keer 30 jaar cel voor moord op Derk Wiersum
Ook in hoger beroep 30 jaar cel voor moord op Derk Wiersum
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