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Dutch court convicts mafia kingpin for series of murders

February 27, 2024

A court in the Netherlands sentenced a mafia boss to life in prison for a series of murders. He is suspected of being behind the killing of crime journalist Peter de Vries.

Dutch policeman standing outside a high security court
Security was very high for the trialImage: Peter Dejong/AP Photo/picture alliance

A court in the Netherlands on Tuesday convicted the leader of a drug cartel that is also suspected of being involved in the killing of prominent Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries.

The suspects of the Amsterdam-based gang faced charges of murder and a series of assassinations that prosecutors called a "well-oiled killing machine."

Dutch mega trial ends in life sentence for gang leader

Taghi, 46, who was arrested in Dubai, and 16 alleged gang members were  on trial for six murders and attempted murders as well as for contracting hitmen for 13 hits that were carried out between 2015 and 2017.

The verdict came amid beefed-up security at a courthouse known as "The Bunker," located on the outskirts of Amsterdam. 

Observers said the trial, named "Marengo" after a judicial codeword for the operation that got the accused charged, was unprecedented for the Netherlands.

DW's Jack Parrock: 'A significant day for justice'

What's the link between de Vries and the 'Marengo' trial?

In 2017, a suspected gang member surrendered and turned a key witness in the investigation of murders.

In the following years, three murders shocked the Netherlands. The witness' brother was killed, and his lawyer was shot dead outside his house.

De Vries, who was the witness' adviser and confidant, was fatally shot in 2021. He succumbed to his injuries after nine days in hospital.

Nine suspects were identified in the case involving his murder, with a person named Delano G. being accused of shooting de Vries in broad daylight. 

Taghi and the 16 other accused did not face charges for those three murders, which occurred during their trial.

The trial of the case opened in 2022. Last week, the prosecutors showed videos of the attack and an injured de Vries.

Taghi has denied all charges, saying the money spent on the "sham trial could rather have gone to employing more teachers and police and health care," Het Parool newspaper reported.

mfi/sms (AP, AFP)

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