Colombian pilot planned to sabotage foiled prison break, lawyer claims
Colombian pilot Alvaro G.B. planned to sabotage a helicopter that was to be used to break criminal Benaouf A. out of the prison in Roermond in October, his lawyer Henk Koopman said in a pro-forma hearing in the case surrounding the foiled prison break on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.
According to the lawyer, G.B was going to throw his hat into the helicopter's turbine to break it, so that the prison break could not happen. "He is actually a guardian of the constitutional state", the lawyer said. "An El Salvador." That G.B. agreed to be part of the prison break - with a 100 thousand euros reward if successful - was a mistake, Koopman added.
The Public Prosecutor listened to this story in astonishment, he said in reaction. "This is the world upside down", the prosecutor said. "This is the umpteenth aberrant statement made by this suspect. He even tried to escape via France. We are not dealing with a regretful informer."
The pilot previously stated that he couldn't fly the type of helicopter the criminals planned to use to free Benaouf A. from prison. According to the lawyer, G.B. did not commit a criminal offense if the prison break could never have happened.
G.B. is one of eight suspects facing trial for trying to hijack a helicopter and use it to break Benaouf A. out of prison. They are also charged with the possession of automatic- and small firearms, and the possession of three stolen vehicles.
According to the Public Prosecutor, the suspects rented the helicopter from an airport in Budel under a ruse. They planned to fly to Weert with the airport's pilot, where the airport's pilot was going to be overpowered and replaced by the Colombian. But the Amsterdam police were aware of the plan and managed to arrest a large number of those involved while they tried to execute their plan on October 11th. One suspect, a 30-year-old man from France, was shot and killed in a shootout with the police.
One of the main suspects, Rachid el M. was arrested in Amsterdam on February 21st. He was in court on Wednesday, but refused to speak, according to the newspaper.
The next pro-forma hearing for this case is planned for June 20th. The actual trial is scheduled to start in September.
Benaouf A. is considered a leader in the Amsterdam gang world. He is currently serving a 12 year prison sentence for involvement in the assassination of another Amsterdam criminal, Najab Boubouh, in October 2012. In December of that year, A. was targeted in an assassination attempt in Amsterdam's Staatsliedenbuurt. He survived, but two others did not. The murder of Bouhbouh and the Staatsliedenbuurt assassinations are considered the start of the Amsterdam gang war, which in the years since resulted in the deaths of dozens of Amsterdam criminals and a handful of innocent bystanders.
A. was transferred to the high security prison in Vught after this attempted escape.