Jihadist spotted in A'dam debate center was intelligence service informant: report

The AIVD building in Zoetermeer
The AIVD building in ZoetermeerPhoto: S.J. de Waard / Wikimedia Commons

Syrian man Abdelaziz A., who was recognized as a jihad combatant in the Amsterdam debate center De Balie in 2017, worked as an informant for Dutch intelligence and security service AIVD between 2016 and 2018, Nieuwsuur reports based on information from sources.

In September 2017, A. was recognized as a fighter for a terrorist organization in De Balie in Amsterdam. He was spotted by activists from the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, who were watching a documentary about Raqqa in the hands of  the ISIS caliphate at the time. The 33-year-old Syrian man was arrested in his Amsterdam home in October last year, on suspicion of participating in a terrorist organization and money laundering. A. was again in the news in January of this year, when his ex-girlfriend, Financieele Dagblad correspondent Ans Boersma, was deported from Turkey. She is suspected of helping A. get forged documents for a visa application. 

According to Nieuwsuur's sources, the AIVD made contact with A. immediately after the man made a trip to Saudi Arabia in December 2016. An official AIVD report dated 12 December 2016 states that A. was suspected of bringing bringing around 100 thousand euros in cash from Saudi Arabia to the Netherlands. A SWAT team pulled A. off the road in the Den Bosch area, as he was driving from Frankfurt airport to Amsterdam. The amount of money wasn't found on him.

The AIVD then asked A. if he would occasionally provide them with information, including about Syrians in the Netherlands. A. agreed. In the eleven months that followed, A. had at least 10 meetings with two AIVD employees, according to Nieuwsuur. He was also paid on those occasions, receiving a total of several thousand euros, the program's sources said. What information he provided to the intelligence service, and whether it was useful, is unclear.

A.'s lawyer Pieter Plasman would neither confirm nor deny that his client was an AIVD informant. "But I am going to make a point of this. The AIVD may approach anyone as an informant, but there is a requirement of proportionality. Who will you, as intelligence service, work with?" he said to Nieuwsuur. "From his criminal file the image emerges that he would be the second man of Al Nusra, he would have described himself as a 'butcher'.That information comes from confidential conversations tapped by the AIVD itself."