Utrecht shooting suspect faces terror trial | News | DW | 02.03.2020
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Utrecht shooting suspect faces terror trial

Four people died when a gunman opened fire on a tram in the central Dutch city in March 2019. The suspect, who authorities say has confessed to the attack, is facing multiple murder and terror charges in court.

The terrorism trial against a man accused of killing four people on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht in 2019 was set to begin on Monday.

Prosecutors have charged Gokman T. with four counts of murder with terrorist intent and three counts of attempted murder, among other offenses. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The defendant, a Dutch citizen of Turkish descent, was arrested during an eight-hour manhunt following last year's March 18 gun attack.

Investigators have said the evidence points to a terrorist motive, and have cited a letter T. left in a getaway car that said: "I'm doing this for my religion. You kill Muslims and you want to take our religion away from us, but you won't succeed. Allah is great.''

Prosecutors say T. confessed to carrying out the crime last year. They have described him as a repeat offender, a drug user and a "difficult person," but said their previous investigations into him had not led them to believe he was plotting a terror attack.

The shooting shook the Netherlands and prompted Utrecht to raise its terror threat to the highest level. The hourslong manhunt also saw security stepped up at airports and key sites across the country.

T. was ordered to undergo psychological evaluation ahead of the trial, which is scheduled to run for four days this week.

nm/stb (AP, dpa)

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