Court sends Badr Hari to prison for minimum 14 mo. term

Badr Hari
Badr Hari before a fight with Zabit Samedov. May 30, 2013legendashowFlickrCC-BY-NC

With reporting by Graeme Kidd.

An Amsterdam appellate court re-sentenced former K-1 heavyweight champion Badr Hari to a 24-month prison term of which 10 months will be a conditional probation period. The prison term is for a series of convictions for violent crimes, including the aggravated assault of Koen Everink during the 2012 edition of Sensation White at the Amsterdam ArenA, the court stated Thursday.

The appellate court further disagreed with Hari's acquittal in an incident at the Jimmy Woo nightclub in Amsterdam, where the professional fighter was accused of smashing a glass in a victim's face. All told, the appellate verdict said it was proven that Hari committed violent crimes in public Amsterdam nightlife locations five times between 2011 and 2012, including a grievous assault, two attempted aggravated assaults, and two assaults.

"Almost always it was a minor altercation that led to fierce violence by the accused, which came so unexpectedly that the victims could not defend themselves against it," the court said in a statement. It noted the suspect's career as a professional kick boxer, saying he "misused his physical superiority" as an aggravating factor in his crimes.

Although prosecutors had wanted a four-year term for Hari, he was initially sentenced to an 18 month term with six months suspended. Prosecutors appealed the sentence, and in their closing argument instead called for a three-year term including probation. The new ruling effectively adds a minimum of two more months in prison to the sentence and additional probation time.

The court disagreed with a defense request to reduce or eliminate the prison sentence altogether. Hari's legal team said imprisonment could damage the fighter's career. However, the court said any trouble time behind bars causes Hari is his own fault, as he knew the risk "when he committed these offenses."

Hari plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. He is to remain free until that court rules, and will tomorrow fly to his Morocco home, his attorney, Bénédicte Ficq told the Telegraaf after the case ended.

Hari also claimed he was not treated fairly in judicial proceedings, claiming he was convicted by the media in published reports about his case. "The suspect was nationally known, and he could have counted on the fact that the commission of a serious offense like [the case] in the ArenA would lead to the requisite media attention," the court said.

"Moreover, he himself had actively approached the media."

Everink is to be paid reparations amounting to 37,326 euro for the beating he took. He testified that the ankle injuries caused in the fight still have not healed.

Jeroen van den Berg, owner of Amsterdam nightspot Club Air, was also granted compensation of 7,139 euro for the beating he received in 2011.

This first appeal in Hari’s case was postponed due to unforeseen personal issues in his private life which were not disclosed.