The year 2019 was a busy one for the Netherlands, with elections and strikes, multiple high profile murders and shootings, and a summer full of heat records, severe storms and poisonous caterpillars. Here follows a review of the top ten stories of this year.
The authorities in Dubai deported Ridouan Taghi to the Netherlands on Wednesday. The man considered to be one of the most wanted criminals in the Netherlands arrived on chartered plane, under guard of the Dutch police, during the early hours of Thursday morning, the Public Prosecutor said.
The Court of Appeals sentenced 41-year-old Shurandy S. to 28 years in prison for the murder of Reduan B., the brother of key witness Nabil B., in Amsterdam last year. The court called S. "extremely cold, calculating, and merciless" in its ruling, NOS reports.
S. was previously sentenced to 20 years in prison. The appeal sentence is equal to what the Public Prosecutor demanded.
Police in the Netherlands announced the arrest of Ridouan Taghi on Monday. The 41-year-old wanted fugitive was taken into custody in Dubai, police said. The OM, the Dutch prosecution service, has requested the extradition of Taghi from Dubai.
Riduouan Taghi, considered the most wanted fugitive criminal in the Netherlands, is likely staying on Kish - an island in the Persian Gulf, an about two-hour boat ride from Dubai, the Telegraaf reports based on "multiple sources" within and outside the investigative services. The Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Kish.
In July the Telegraaf wrote that Taghi was "almost certainly" hiding in Dubai.
Police detained two persons of interest connected to the murder of criminal defense attorney Derk Wiersum. The arrests were announced on television show Opsporing Verzocht on Tuesday night.
The duo were taken into custody for their possible roles in fencing a stolen vehicle allegedly used to monitor Wiersum shortly before he was killed. They were questioned and released, police said.
Defense attorney Derk Wiersum was watched and followed by multiple cars weeks before he was murdered at his Amsterdam home on September 18th, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.
Wanted fugitive Ridouan Taghi ordered outlaw motorcycle gang Caloh Wagoh to commit murders on his behalf, the Public Prosecutor said on Friday in a proforma hearing against members of the biker gang.
With that statement, the Public Prosecutor linked two of the biggest murder cases currently ongoing in the Netherlands.
The police believe that a white delivery van was used as a getaway car after the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum outside his home on Imstenrade in Amsterdam. Witness statements and video footage showed a white vehicle "similar to a Fiat Doblo" driving away from the area immediately after Wiersum was gunned down on Sepember 18th, the police said on Sunday.
The police are still no closer to catching the man who gunned down defense lawyer Derk Wiersum in front of his home in the Buitenveldert neighborhood of Amsterdam last week Wednesday. On Opsporing Verzocht on Tuesday, the police called on witnesses to come forward, especially people who noticed anything out of the ordinary in the neighborhood in the weeks before the shooting.
Fugitive Ridouan Taghi has been linked to two more murders, three attempted killings and ordering an attack on a spy shop in Nieuwegein, was revealed in a proforma hearing on Tuesday. The criminal group led by Taghi is now suspected of at least nine assassinations and a whole series of attempted murders and never executed murder plans, Het Parool reports.
A special anti-drug unit, based on the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will be established in the Netherlands, Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus announced on Thursday after the murder of defense lawyer Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam. But more than that will be needed in the fight against organized crime, Eirk Heijdelberg, director of Willem Schrikker Youth Protection, said to broadcaster NOS.
The Public Prosecution Service will keep using key witnesses, even after the murder of criminal law attorney Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. "We must continue to use the means of key witnesses, otherwise we will get no further in criminal cases. Continue in a motivated way", prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said to Nieuwsuur. He wants more options in the use of such suspects-turned-informants.
Authorities investigating the murder of criminal defense attorney Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam have joined forces with Dutch counter-terrorism agency NCTV in the hunt for the perpetrator. Police are still searching for the suspect they believe to be responsible for the crime.
The entire Amsterdam city council wants an emergency debate with Mayor Femke Halsema on undermining crime after the murder of criminal law attorney Derk Wiersum in the city on Wednesday morning. Wiersum represented key witness Nabil B., who linked fugitive Ridouan Taghi to a number of gangland assassinations.
Criminal law attorney Derk Wiersum was standing next to his wife when he was gunned down near their home on Imstenrade in Amsterdam Zuid on Wednesday morning. The woman was not physically injured in the attack that killed her husband. "There are no further victims", a police spokesperson said to Het Parool. Wiersum is survived by his wife and two school-aged children.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, MPs and lawyers are shocked by the murder of criminal law attorney Derk Wiersum in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning, calling it an attack on the rule of law. "Very disturbing reports", Rutte said to reporters in response to the lawyer's death. Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus is currently being informed about what the authorities know so far. "As soon as any announcements can be made, that will happen", the Prime Minister said.
A man was shot and killed in Buitenveldert in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. Het Parool and De Telegraaf identify the victim as Derk Wiersum, the lawyer that represented key witness Nabil B. A police officer confirmed this in an interview with AT5, adding that the 44-year-old lawyer lived on Imstenrade where the shooting happened.
The Public Prosecution Service again inadvertently distributed a photo of a key witness in a major criminal case. This time it was a photo of Tony de G., the key witness in a major case against organized crime. He made incriminating statements against some of the leaders of outlaw motorcycle gang Caloh Wagoh, AD reports.
The Public Prosecution Service made a huge blunder. A photo of the most important key witness in the case against Ridouan Taghi, the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands, ended up in the criminal files of all suspects around Taghi, the Prosecutor confirmed to RTL Nieuws after reports in the Telegraaf.
The police photo of Nabil B. ended up in the files of suspects who are on trail on Thursday for involvement in multiple underworld assassinations. The main suspect in the case is fugitive Ridouan Taghi.
The Amsterdam police arrested suspects at various locations on Monday morning in the ongoing investigation into an attack on the building housing newspaper De Telegraaf in June last year. More details will be released during the course of the day, the police said on Twitter.
The police and Public Prosecutor misjudged the risks involved for the family of key witness Nabil B., they admitted for the first time in interviews with four Dutch newspapers. "Our assessment was not such that we suspected an assassination", the Public Prosecutor said to the Telegraaf. "In retrospect you can say that this assessment was not correct."