Top defense attorney Inez Weski ordered to remain in jail for at least 2 more weeks
Criminal defense attorney Inez Weski was ordered on Monday to remain in jail for at least two more weeks. The 68-year-old Rotterdam woman was arrested on Friday on suspicion of participating in an organized crime operation that is involved in international drug trafficking and money laundering. She is also suspected of violating rules related to secret information.
Weski has been representing Ridouan Taghi, the alleged organized crime lord and main suspect in the Marengo criminal proceedings. The trial revolves around several assassinations that took place, several others which failed, and the planning of other street-level executions. Weski's attorneys said on Monday that she will step down as Taghi's lead attorney, though the trial is near its conclusion. Prosecutors demanded life imprisonment against Taghi, while Weski called for an acquittal during her closing argument. A verdict is expected in October.
Taghi has been kept in restricted custody ever since his extradition from Dubai to the Netherlands. As such, he is only permitted contact with his legal representation. "The lawyer is suspected of abusing her position by passing on messages from the criminal organization to and from her detained client," the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Friday.
An examining magistrate at the Rotterdam District Court on Monday remanded Weski into custody for the maximum period of two weeks. During that time, the investigation into the allegations against her will continue. Her detention can be extended during an upcoming hearing.
Like Taghi, Weski is also only allowed to have contact with her own legal representation. Her attorneys, Rob Baumgardt and Fébe Schoolderman, told newspaper AD that Weski will no longer represent Taghi. The lawyers would not comment further on the decision. Should Taghi be unable to find a new attorney, the head of the Rotterdam Bar Association will be tasked with appointing someone.
Weski is the second attorney representing Taghi to wind up in jail. Taghi's own relative, Youssef T., was arrested in October 2021 on accusations that he was working as a messenger for Taghi during the six months he represented the man after his return to the Netherlands. Youssef T. was convicted in January and sentenced to 5.5 years in prison, with the court rejecting his defense claiming he wanted to stall a scheme to break Taghi out of prison, and was not trying to provide assistance to his criminal enterprise.
Last year, T.'s attorney, Andre Seebregts, accused Weski of also acting as Taghi's messenger. Seebregts claimed at the time that authorities were in possession of decrypted messages sent via the Sky ECC service that allegedly showed a plot to smuggle documents in and out of prison, and to facilitate communications between one of Taghi's children and Italian mafia boss Raffaele Imperiale, who recently became a cooperating witness in a separate investigation.
Weski at the time said the allegations were nonsense. However, prosecutors on Friday did make a similar assertion as what Seebregts stated. "The suspicions against the lawyer arose in the summer of 2022 when an update became available with decrypted messages from SkyECC," prosecutors said.
Weski is no stranger to working with controversial clients. She is also the long-time legal representative for Desi Bouterse, the former president of Suriname. She also represented Dutch men Guus Kouwenhoven and Theodor Cranendonk, both convicted weapons trafficking. Kouwenhoven was also convicted of war crimes for activities in Liberia and Guinea.