Alleged crime boss Ridouan Taghi will defend himself after attorney’s arrest
Ridouan Taghi has informed the Amsterdam court that he intends to conduct his own defense in the extensive Marengo criminal proceedings, a source close to the case told ANP. The extensive trial covers a myriad of violent crimes, including assassinations, attempted killings, and murder plots.
Taghi ’s former attorney, Inez Weski, was arrested on April 21. She then resigned as his defense counsel, and was suspended by the Bar Association while her own case works its way through the courts.
Taghi has informed the court that he fully supports and will continue to press all inquiries made by Weski. Among her probes, she has asked the court to further investigate the story of a commando who claims to have been approached with the question about possible options to “neutralise” Taghi, likely used as a euphemism for killing him.
That allegedly happened when Taghi was still a fugitive. He was arrested in Dubai at the end of 2019.
Weski, 68, is suspected of participating in a criminal organization involved in international drug trafficking and money laundering, and also violating her oath of secrecy. She is said to have shared information between Taghi and his contacts in the outside world while he was incarcerated at the country’s most secure prison, located in Vught.
Since his extradition to the Netherlands, Taghi has been in restricted custody, which forbids him from communicating with anyone other than his legal representation. Weski was still in pre-trial detention on Friday, which was extended on May 4 by a period of 30 days.
Defendants may present their own defense, but the court has the option of appointing a lawyer if it deems it necessary. The court of Amsterdam has announced that the matter will be discussed at a hearing on Wednesday, May 17. At that time, a preparatory session is on the agenda for all suspects in the criminal case.
Prosecutors have called for Taghi to be convicted as the main defendant in the Marengo case, and said he should be sentenced to life in prison. Five of his co-defendants were also recommended for the longest possible sentence. Two of them, the brothers Mao R. and Mario R., were also assisted by Weski. Mao’s defense has been taken over by a colleague in the same office, and Mario R. is also currently without a lawyer.
This also applies to the key witness in the case, Nabil B. His lawyers also resigned from his defense earlier this year.
The evidence that the Public Prosecution Service has reviewed and presented in the Marengo case is largely based on intercepted messages about criminal acts shared over PGP telephones belonging to the suspects. These only came to light after key witness B. communicated about this to the prosecutors. He has made incriminating statements about several suspects in exchange for a reduced sentence.
The verdict in the case, which has been dragging on for years, is scheduled for the end of October.