Prosecutor eavesdropped on journalist after Amsterdam assassination

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Crime scene (Photo: Politie). (Crime scene (Photo: Politie))

After the murder of ., brother of key witness Nabil B., the Public Prosecutor eavesdropped on a conversation between a journalist and a source without following the proper procedures, the Public Prosecutor confirmed in a statement on Wednesday after NOS wrote about it.

The bugged conversation took place on March 29th, the day after The murder happened less than a week after it became known that his brother Nabil B. agreed to be a witness in a number of assassination cases in Amsterdam and Utrecht. Reduan's murder is seen as retaliation from the criminal underworld.

The journalist was trying to get information from one of his sources about Reduan's murder. The conversation happened in a public place, which the police bugged with microphones. 

The Public Prosecutor gave permission for the conversation to be bugged, but the operation was never submitted to the Board of Prosecutors General or the Public Prosecutor's office in Amsterdam, as is the procedure. "The required internal review did not take place", the Prosecutor said in its statement. The recording of the conversation was therefore never listened to and was eventually destroyed, "because the Public Prosecutor believes that the recording is an inadmissible violation of journalists' source protection", according to the statement.

The Prosecutor added that those involved, including the journalist and the lawyer of the were previously informed about the eavesdropping operation. 

This is the second time in a short period that the Public Prosecutor did not follow the correct procedure in eavesdropping on journalists, according to NU.nl. In June it was revealed that the Prosecutor requested the telephone data of a Brabants Dagblad reporter in the summer of last year. The telephone conversations between the journalist and a suspect were bugged. The Prosecutor also tried to listen in on a meeting between the two, but that failed.

The Dutch association of journalists NVJ and the Society of Chief Editors are "baffled" that the Prosecutor again bugged a journalist without getting authorization. "It is incomprehensible that they do not have their affairs in order", NVJ secretary Thomas Bruning said, according to the newspaper. He called it "extra painful", because the Senate only just passed the law on source protection. 

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