Trial on defense attorney Derk Wiersum's murder starts
The substantive treatment of the trial on the murder of defense attorney Derk Wiersum starts on Monday. Wiersum was shot dead shortly after leaving his Amsterdam home on 18 September 2019. He was representing Nabil B., a key witness in the Marengo assassinations process, at the time. The fact that Peter R. de Vries, a confidential advisor for Nabil B., is fighting for his life after being shot in Amsterdam last week, makes today's hearing extra intense.
Two suspects, 37-year-old Giermo B. from Almere and 32-year-old Moreno B. from Rotterdam, are charged with Wiersum's murder. Surveillance camera footage of the murder led the police to the stolen cars used in the assassination, which in turn led them to the suspects. Surveillance camera footage also revealed that Wiersum had been watched for weeks before his death.
The Public Prosecutor's evidence against the suspects include bugged conversations, location data showing that their phones were at the crime scene around the time of the murder, and their DNA was found in the stolen cars used in the assassination, NOS reports.
The suspects' lawyers plan to argue that the suspicions against their clients are based on assumptions and there is no real evidence that they actually committed the murder, according to the broadcaster.
A third suspect in this case was Anouar T., suspected of delivering the stolen cars used in the assassination. T. is the cousin of Ridouan Taghi, the main suspect in the Marengo trial. T. was released from custody in April, because there was not enough evidence that he knew the cars were to be used to assassinate Wiersum. A separate investigation into the stolen cars is still ongoing. T. will likely face court in that case in the future.
Wiersum's murder shook the Netherlands. He was the first defense lawyer to fall victim to the violence surrounding cocaine trafficking in the country. His murder raised immediate concerns for the safety of everyone in the legal chain - defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges - and prompted change in the way security was provided for them.
Dozens of people were given extra security after Wiersum's death. The standard for providing security was changed from "in actual danger" to "could be at risk".
The murder also pushed the Dutch government to intensify its fight against undermining and organized crime.