Dutch mega trial ends in life sentence for gang leader Ridouan Taghi

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 5:34 AM

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – One of the largest criminal trials in Dutch history ended on Tuesday with the main defendant, Ridouan Taghi, sentenced to life in prison for ordering a series of gangland killings.

Taghi, 46, is seen as the mastermind of what is thought to be one of the Netherlands’ largest drug cartels. He was the Netherlands’ most wanted man before his 2019 extradition from Dubai.

In the mega trial that lasted around six years including its preparatory phases, Taghi and 16 other men were accused of six murders, four attempts at murder and the preparation of several other attacks.

Taghi was sentenced to life in prison for being the leader of the organisation that ordered the killings, while two others were also sentenced to life for their role in the killings.

During the trial and its preparatory phase several people connected to the case were killed.

In 2021 celebrity Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries was shot on a busy Amsterdam street. De Vries was acting as an adviser to a suspect-turned-state witness in the trial, whose lawyer, Derk Wiersum, was gunned down in front of his home in the city in 2019.

Security around the case was tight. The judges reading out the verdict on Tuesday remained anonymous while streets surrounding the heavily guarded courthouse in Amsterdam were cordoned off.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alison Williams)