Prosecutor demands life sentences against men suspected of killing journalist Peter R. de Vries
Prosecutors recommended that the two men suspected of murdering Peter R. de Vries be sentenced to life behind bars during their trial on Tuesday. Both suspects "have forfeited their right to freedom", according to the Public Prosecution Service (OM).
The OM believes that 22-year-old Delano G. was the gunman, and co-defendant Kamil E. drove G. to and from Amsterdam. Kamil E. Is also believed to have carried out several preliminary surveillance operations before the shooting. "Both G. and E. were fully aware of the assignment that had to be carried out," the prosecutor said in an Amsterdam courtroom on Tuesday.
De Vries was shot on July 6 of last year in the heart of Amsterdam. The crime reporter was walking from the RTL Boulevard studio on Leidseplein, where he had just finished an on-camera appearance, to his car in a parking garage in Lange Leidsedwarsstraat when he was shot at close range. He was hit in the head, and succumbed to his injuries nine days later.
Less than an hour after the attack, the police stopped the two suspects at an exit on the A4. Evidence found in the car included the weapon used in the attack, and an encrypted telephone which the suspects are accused of using to communicate with the person who ordered the murder.
A motive for the murder is unknown, but it is suspected that it has to do with the role De Vries held as a confidential adviser to Nabil B., the prosecution’s key witness in the extensive Marengo process. "It looks that way," the prosecutor said. He spoke of "a particularly shocking attack" on "a third person associated with the crown witness". In 2018, Nabil B.’s brother was shot dead. A year later, gunmen killed his lawyer, Derk Wiersum.
"Society is facing a new reality with feelings of fear and terror," the officer said of the three murders. By demanding a life sentence, he wants to send "a clear and crystal-clear signal.”
The Marengo process is the assigned name for the trial involving gang leader Ridouan Taghi, his top lieutenant, and several others. They stand accused of carrying out multiple assassinations, and either attempting or plotting several others.
The OM said the murder of De Vries demands a stricter punishment as it was an aggravated homicide consisting of the contract killing of "a completely innocent citizen.” The suspects left many questions unanswered by invoking their right to remain silent, or speaking to a limited extent. When they spoke, the prosecution accused them of lying.
Finally, the Public Prosecution Service considered the enormous shock to society due to the actions they accuse the defendants of undertaking. "A famous and much-loved crime reporter with a very long track record and with an unprecedented determination is no more. His death shocked the whole of the Netherlands, and [the country] wallowed in deep mourning."
The case will continue on June 15, including arguments from the defendants' lawyers. The court expects to issue a verdict on July 14. If either suspect is found guilty, the court will likely announce a sentence at the same time.
Reporting by ANP