Two convicted in terrorist plot against Rotterdam police station
Two men suspected of plotting a terrorist attack against a police station in Rotterdam were convicted and sentenced to prison on Thursday. Ahmed B. was handed a prison term of eight years, and his alleged accomplice, Mouad M., was ordered to spend 7 years and 9 months behind bars.
Mouad M. was also convicted of vandalizing and damaging the prison in Vught where he was kept in pre-trial detention. Newswire ANP reported that he knocked down a treadmill in the gymnasium, and threw furniture while being egged on by Mohammed B., the man convicted of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh. This reportedly happened when M. was not allowed to contact his attorney. He was ordered to pay 33 thousand euros in restitution.The court also convicted B. of a violent street robbery where a gold chain was stolen, the sentencing document showed.
The two, originally from Morocco, were convicted on accusations that “they intended to use weapons and explosives to carry out attacks on arbitrary civilians and / or a police station,” the court said. “The suspects had traveled to the Netherlands especially for that purpose.”
Intelligence provided by the AIVD security service showed that at least one of the suspects also wanted to carry out an attack in France, and that in that country he had a source who could provide Kalashnikov rifles and bomb vests. The court said the evidence showed that their communications on Facebook indicated they wanted to “conquer Dutch security” with God’s permission, suggesting with a photo that a police station known as De Veranda was their target.
The defense in the case argued that this information was the result of an entrapment scheme by authorities. They argued that the “boasting” was meant to impress a person they were speaking with who was believed to be an ISIS supporter. The defense alleged this person was either an AIVD employee or a virtual persona operated by the AIVD and the FBI in the United States.
Preparations for the alleged attacks took place between April and mid-June, 2018, the prosecution argued, in the Netherlands, but also possibly in France and Germany. They were arrested on June 17 of that year in Rotterdam. “During their arrest and during a search of the house where they were staying in Rotterdam, (a total of) four mobile phones were seized and searched,” the court said.
Video shot on the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam were found on the phones. In the video, they said that nothing in their lives was more important than carrying out the attack and dying like a martyr, according to the court.
A search of the web browser histories on their phones turned up sites with jihadist videos, propaganda, and instruction manuals to create explosives. One phone had been used to visit 1,722 such web pages, the evidence showed.