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Alleged killers of Dutch journalist De Vries go on trial

October 18, 2021

Monday's preliminary hearing is expected to look at the police investigation into the Amsterdam shooting of the crime reporter rather than the evidence itself.

A picture of Peter de Vries at the Carre Theatre.
Peter de Vries lived by the motto: "On bended knee is no way to be free."Image: Barbara Wesel/DW

Two men charged with killing Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries in Amsterdam went on trial Monday after a shooting that shocked the Netherlands.

Police arrested a 21-year-old Dutch man and his Polish getaway driver, 35, on July 6 shortly after De Vries was gunned down on an Amsterdam street.

De Vries died from his injuries nine days after being shot.

What is happening at the court case?

The Amsterdam District Court is expected to hear the main details of the police investigation so far and any other requests from the suspects' lawyers.

The preliminary hearing will not evaluate evidence over the killing, which brought thousands of people onto the streets across the Netherlands to pay their last respects to De Vries.

Experts think that the murder could have been committed by the same organized crime group that de Vries had been trying to lock up in a 16-person court case.

Prosecutors branded the gang a "well-oiled killing machine."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the shooting was more than just an "almost incomprehensible" killing of "a courageous journalist."

He called it "an attack on the free journalism that is so essential for democracy, our constitutional state, our society."

What is De Vries' legacy?

Known as the country's most famous crime reporter, De Vries aided the police to halt organized crime and wrote a book about the 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.

De Vries helped solve various "cold cases" and tried to clear the names of people convicted for crimes they did not commit.

People in the Netherlands laid flowers for journalist Peter de Vries in July
Peter de Vries was labelled "fearless" by members of the Dutch public who paid tribute to the crime journalistImage: Michael Potts/Pro SHOTS/picture alliance

His frequent appearances on national television shows garnered him fame and a reputation for seeking justice.

Despite receiving countless death threats, he had turned down police protection.

After his death, mourners queued for hours on July 22 to pay homage to the man who made crime writing his passion.

jc/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)

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