Amsterdam CS stabbing: Prosecutor demands 25 years in prison

Prosecutors in the Netherlands called on judges in an Amsterdam courtroom to convict Jawed S. in the stabbings of two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station. The prosecution service argued that the act was a premeditated attempt to murder, with terrorist purposes, justifying a maximum allowable prison sentence of 25 years.

"Jawed bears full responsibility for his actions. He doesn't run away from that," his attorney, Simon van der Woude, said in response. Van der Woude said that S. should receive a lighter sentence than the prosecutor wants because S. is relatively young with no prior convictions. He also called on the court to acquit his client of threatening the police officers involved in the incident, saying that he was not waving his knife specifically at the officers at the train station that day.

"Leave my religion alone," S. said in his own closing statement. "Otherwise you know what will happen."

The court will issue a verdict and sentence on October 14. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the court heard from several witnesses. One of the three police officers who fired gunshots, taking down Jawed S. seconds after the stabbing in August 2018, now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he said in a statement read by the judge during the second say of the trial against S. The wives of the two victims also spoke in court on Tuesday, AD reports. 

On August 31st last year, S. stabbed two American tourists in Amsterdam Central Station, attacking them from behind. One was stabbed in the back. He sustained a spinal cord injury and is now confined to a wheel chair. The other was stabbed in the arm and torso and only barely survived the attack, after undergoing emergency surgery. He sustained severe nerve damage to his arm.

A police officer noticed S. shortly before the attack and called in backup. He and two colleagues overpowered S. within seconds after he started stabbing people. One officer shot him in the lower body to incapacitate him. During the first day of trial on Monday, S. said that he came to the Netherlands to kill "cruel and unfair" people, and that his only mistake was that he did not stab people who were from the Netherlands.

"The image of the two victims being stabbed is burned into my mind. I unwittingly I look back on the images. I do not have control over the incident, the incident has control over me", the police officer said in his statement, read in court on Tuesday.

"The photo of us is engraved in my memory. You are moaning on the floor. I am standing with my weapon drawn, my finger on the trigger, over your head. I could have killed you", the police officer said in his statement. The officer also called S., among other things, a "bastard", a "fool" and a "pathetic figure". He hopes S. spends the rest of his life in prison. "What a cowardly deed. May God damn you for what you have done."

The wives of the two victims, who were traveling with their husbands to Germany for a wedding when the attack happened, read statements in court on Tuesday, according to RTL Nieuws. 

"Jawed S., you are not a hero, but a coward. You may think that your actions are a symbol of good work, but I assure you: you are mistaken. Your attack from behind proves your weakness. If you had given my husband a chance to fight, you would not have had a chance and we wouldn't be here now", one woman said. Her husband is now wheelchair bound. 

"I was eleven weeks pregnant when I witnessed the brutal stabbing of my love", she continued. "In the United States I had a miscarriage. I am convinced that this was the result of the emotional toll the attack has taken on my life. I am still devastated."

The other victim's arm still hasn't recovered more than a year after the stabbing. His wife also addressed Jawed S. directly. "When I looked you in your eyes that day, I suddenly realized that you were not imbued with anger, but trembled with fear", she said.

The victims are the heroes in this case, not S., she stressed. "We are not ruled by fear. My eyes are now open, more than ever, to see the beauty of life", she said. "The only freedom you have left is freedom of thought. And I want you to think of us at those moments, and of what a coward you were that day. But I also hope that you grow from a lost boy into a good person. Because good always wins."