Authorities admit to misjudging risks for key witness' family

Gavel with lady justice in the background
Gavel with lady justice in the backgroundPhoto: SergPoznanskiy/DepositPhotos

The police and Public Prosecutor misjudged the risks involved for the family of key witness Nabil B., they admitted for the first time in interviews with four Dutch newspapers. "Our assessment was not such that we suspected an assassination", the Public Prosecutor said to the Telegraaf. "In retrospect you can say that this assessment was not correct."

On March 23rd last year the Public Prosecutor announced that Nabil B. would testify against Ridouan Taghi and Said Razzouki, who are suspected of involvement in a series of assassinations. Less than a week later, Nabil B.'s brother Reduan was shot dead at his business in Amsterdam. Reduan, a father of two small children, had nothing to do with his brother's criminal activities. 

"The situation was totally new to us. It is horrible that this happened. A nightmare for the family", the Prosecutor said to the Telegraaf.

Nabil B. warned the authorities that his family may be in danger, according to NOS. In intercepted chat messages Ridouan Taghi said that he would put everyone Nabil B. knows "to sleep" if he mentioned his name. Nabil B. and his lawyer therefore wanted the Prosecutor to wait with the announcement that he turned witness until after Taghi and Razzouki were arrested. But that did not happen. "The case prosecutors decided otherwise", the Public Prosecutor said to the Volkskrant. They wanted Taghi and Razzouki on international wanted lists. "All interests were taken into account, all risks weighted. The main goal was that society must not be confronted with even more violence."

Despite the fact that Nabil B. said that Taghi would take revenge on his family, and that suspicious people were seen at the home of his mother and other family members, the Prosecutor did not consider the chance of an assassination as high. "In the beginning there was no concrete information", the Prosecutor said, according to NOS. "The conclusion remained that we did not think we would have to deal with the assassination of a family member of the key witness."

Immediately after Reduan's assassination, the Public Prosecutor announced that the man would only accept a limited form of security. But that has been denied by the B. family. "That was our position then", the Prosecutor now said. "We have a different opinion about this than the family." But according to Het Parool, that saw messages Reduan sent before his murder, the man was terrified that Ridouan Taghi would take revenge on him and other family members. He also complained about the security he got from the Public Prosecutor. 

Shurandy S. was sentenced to 20 years in prison for Reduan B.'s murder last month. He told the authorities that he was ordered to murder B., but refused to say who gave him his orders