Suspects could get 4.5 years for failed prison break
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded 4.5 years in prison against four French men for a failed attempt to break convicted murderer Omar L. out of the prison in Zutphen in January. The prison asked for 170 thousand euros in compensation to repair the damages caused by the failed prison break, according to AD's live blog on the trial.
25-year-old Hatime O., 30 year-old- Alberic G., 27-year-old Bilal L., and 22-year-old Foulet N. are charged with a failed prison break, setting a bus on fire near the prison, damaging the prison's fencing, and possession of three stolen vehicles.
According to the authorities, the four suspects arrived at the prison at around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, 19 January 2020. One of them had an appointment in the prison and entered the prison, where he propped open the door with a bird cage so that his three fellows could join him. They tried to use a cordless angle grinder to cut open the second gate, throwing smoke bombs in an attempt to hide what they were doing. The smoke bombs weren't very effective, and the security cameras clearly caught what they were up to. The angle grinder's battery ran out before they managed to open the gate.
The four suspects fled the scene, setting a bus parked near the prison on fire, presumably as a distraction. The police caught up to them in Zevenaar, where all four men were arrested. They've been in pre-trail custody since.
The Prosecutor called this failed attempt to break Omar L. out of prison a "serious violation of the legal order". Freeing a prisoner from prison carries a maximum of four years in prison, but according to the prosecutor, the suspects' actions were "expertly prepared". "The division of roles, arranging the vehicles, the tools: it could have been a success." If the suspects hadn't made the wrong choices when trying to break through the gates, their plan may have worked, the Prosecutor said. "It is a fat middle finger to the rule of law and so there will be a higher [sentence] demand."
Omar L., together with Hicham M., were convicted of two assassinations and three attempted assassinations last year. The court considered it proven that L. ordered the attacks and M. was the gunman. L. was sentenced to life in prison.
L. is also linked to the gang allegedly run by Benaouf A., who was also at the center of a foiled prison break in 2017. A group of men tried to hijack a helicopter and break A. out of the prison in Roermond, after which he was transferred to the high security prison in Vught. A. was sentenced to four years extra in prison for the foiled jail break. The court also canceled the "conditional release", to which convicts are entitled after serving two-thirds of their sentence.