Suspect in Almere murder attempt remains silent out of fear

A man suspected of preparing for an assassination in Almere told the court on Tuesday that he fears for his life and will therefore remain silent. He also denied that he was involved in any plans to assassinate Amsterdam criminal Mustafa el J., and denied knowing El J. at all, ANP reports.

The suspect, 45-year-old Michael I., asked the court of Amsterdam to understand that he will not answer questions because he is on a hit list and fears that doing so will result in his death. "I can not properly assess the dangers in custody", he said in a brief statement at the start of his trial. 

I. was arrested with 33-year-old Quinsy S. in Almere in the summer of last year. The police pulled over the stolen BMW they were driving. Both men were wearing two layers of clothing, gloves and hats, despite it being summer. I. was driving and S. had a firearm on him. Based on tapped conversations, the Public Prosecutor concluded that they were on their way to assassinate El J.

I. denied all of this. "An assassination is going too far for me. I was under the impression that money had to be collected. That is what I was told. I could make money by driving." He said that he "did not know" that S. was carrying a gun. I. did not say who they were going to and claims that he's "never heard of Mustafa el J." 

The Public Prosecutor called I.'s statements unbelievable.

S. claimed that he carried the firearm for his own protection. "I had to collect tens of thousands of euros and you never know how that will go."

In addition to preparing for assassinating El J., Quinsy S. is also being prosecuted for the murder of Youssef el Kahtaoui in May 2015. El Kahtaoui was an innocent bystander on De Clercqstraat in Amsterdam when he was caught in the middle of a shooting at a sisha lounge. According to the Prosecutor, S. was the gunman. S. was arrested in his cell in February for this murder. He was linked to the shooting through a DNA trace on a bullet that pierced his body when he was shot at himself.