Innocent man arrested for Utrecht shooting now called "terrorist" on the street

Police at the scene of a mass shooting on 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht, 18 March 2019
Police at the scene of a mass shooting on 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht, 18 March 2019. (Photo: Politie)

A 27-year-old man that was held for a time in connection with a fatal shooting on a tram in Utrecht on Monday, says that people still see him as an attacker - even though the police released him because he wasn't involved in the attack. "On social media I have been called a traitor, and on the street I am addressed as a terrorist", he said to newspaper AD. 

The man was arrested with his brother after the shooting on 24 Oktoberplein. Both brothers were released again on Tuesday, after investigation revealed that they had nothing to do with the shooting. 

In response to the story in AD, the Public Prosecutor stressed on Friday that investigation revealed no indications that the two released men were "involved in any way in the events of Monday", according to NU.nl

Prime suspect Gokmen T. is still in custody and will be arraigned on Friday. A 40-year-old man from Utrecht is also still in custody. Exactly what he is suspected of is not clear. On Thursday the Prosecutor said that they are investigating whether he had a "supporting role outside of the shooting incident".

Gokmen T. is suspected of opening fire on a tram on 24 Oktoberplein on Monday morning. Three people were killed and five others were injured, three of whom seriously. At this stage T. is being charged with three criminal offenses: multiple murder or manslaughter with terrorist intent, attempts thereto, and threat with terrorist intent. 

According to the Public Prosecutor, T. acted alone with terrorist intent. The suspicion of terrorism is backed by the fact that no links have been found between T. and the victims, and a letter found in the suspect's getaway car. The authorities haven't revealed the content of the letter, but according to PVV leader Geert Wilders, it contained statements about solidarity between Muslims

"Furthermore, it is being investigated whether the accused acted solely for the sake of a terrorist motive, or whether his actions were based on personal problems in combination with radicalized ideas", The Prosecutor said on Thursday.

At 7:00 p.m. on Friday there will be a silent march from Jaarbeursplein to 24 Oktoberplein to commemorate the victims of the shooting. Participants will leave red and white flowers - the colors of Utrecht - at the scene of the attack.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Ferdinnd Grapperhaus of Justice and Security will participate in the march, according to NOS. Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam said that she will go to Utrecht to participate, according to Het Parool. Anti-Islam movement Pegida also announced that it will participate, according to NU.nl. 

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