Amsterdam terror suspect expected to die in attack, lawyer says

Ambulance police Amsterdam
A trauma team and police vehicle race follow an ambulance on Damrak in Amsterdam after a stabbing at Amsterdam Centraal. 31 August 2018photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

Jawed S., a 19-year-old Afghan man suspected of stabbing two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station on Friday, expected to die in the attack, his lawyer Simon van der Woude said on Tuesday. "My client seems to have taken into account that he would not survive his action himself, because a testament was found in his home in Germany", the lawyer said, ANP reports.

According to the lawyer, S. felt deeply insulted by PVV leader Geert Wilders because of a video he posted on the internet some time ago featuring cartoons of Islamic religious figure the prophet Mohammed, and the cartoon contest the PVV leader announced. The Afghan man apparently did not know that Wilders canceled that contest the day before his attack. 

"After he had been confronted with the accusations by the examining magistrate, he asked the question why Mr. Wilders received permission and the opportunity to insult the Prophet in the Netherlands. Apparently here lies the motive for his actions, which seems to have been directed against two random visitors at Amsterdam Central Station", the lawyer said.

S. asked for asylum in Germany three years ago, Van der Woude said. "He goes to school there and speaks German fairly well. In Germany he never committed any attack and is not known to the police", the lawyer said. "He is a Muslim and visits the mosque regularly. He stated that his parents died and that four things are important to him: Allah, Islam, the Koran and the prophet Mohammed."

The German authorities were previously warned that S. was letting his beard grow and changing his behavior, according to regional broadcaster SWR. An official in the Mainz-Bingen district passed this information on to the German security service, a local spokesperson said to SWR on Tuesday. What the security service did with this information, is not clear. After the attack, the German police said that S. is not known as a Muslim extremist.

S. stabbed and seriously injured two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station on Friday. He was shot by the police and arrested. Shortly before he attacked, 'spotters' noticed him and kept an eye on him, Amsterdam police chief Pieter Jaap Aalbersberg said on Pauw. The police believe that S. chose his victims randomly and that he acted alone.

The American embassy thanked the Dutch authorities for their swift actions in dealing with S. and asked that the privacy of the two victims be respected.