Two suspected Dutch jihadists respond to Prosecutor's Facebook summons to court
Two weeks ago the Dutch Public Prosecutor issued a summons for 10 suspected Dutch jihadists to appear in court today. As the suspects are believed to be in Syria or Iraq, the summons could not be personally delivered. So the Prosecutor found other ways to try and reach the suspects, including social media. Two of the suspects actually responded to the Prosecutor's Facebook post, according to AD journalist Cyril Rosman tweeting from within the courtroom.
According to prosecutor Carla Hofstee, the Facebook post was aimed at "men between 18 and 30 years" in the area of ISIS stronghold Mosoel in Iraq. The post was clicked on 10,380 times and reacted to over 8 thousand times, according to the prosecutor. Among the reactions were two of the suspects - Victor D. and Adil B.
Victor D. responded by saying he "can't understand the summons" with a photo of him and Adil B. "eating a pizza in the Syrian Idlib."
None of the men actually appeared in court on Thursday. Though three of them did hire lawyer Andre Seebregts to speak on their behalf, including Victor D. The lawyer asked the court to suspend the case against D. indefinitely. "It is the right of a suspect to be present in his trial. My client does not want to waive that right. But if he makes it known that he wants to be here, it can be dangerous. We know how different groups in Syria deal with people who want to leave." he said.
The Public Prosecutor does not want to wait for the suspects to return to the Netherlands before starting legal proceedings against them. In a previous statement the Prosecutor said: "Risks with possible returnees from the combat zone will be reduced once they have been sentenced. Upon their return, they can then immediately be arrested to serve their imposed penalty."
In court on Thursday, prosecutor Ferry van Veghel revealed that criminal investigations have been launched against over 200 Dutch jihadists suspected of joining terrorist groups in the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, NU.nl report. According to the prosecutor, these are investigations in which it is very difficult to gather evidence as it is basically impossible to collect physical evidence in the conflict zones. It is time consuming and very intense.
The ten suspects summoned to court on Thursday are: 29-year-old Thierry K. from Zoetermeer, 29-year-old Victor D. from Raalte, 28-year-old Jihad S. from Arnhem, 24-year-old Yago R. from Arnhem, 22-year-old Marouane B. from Arnhem, 31-year-old Khalid B. from Velp, 27-year-old Jeroen van D. from Almere, 24-year-old Khalid B. from Vlaardingen, 26-year-old Adil B. from Rotterdam and 21-year-old Ridvan O. from Utrecht.