Trial Of Dutch Moroccan Extremist Begins
Haaretz reports that the highly-anticipated trial against 20-year old Dutch Moroccan Samir Azzouz took off today. Samir Azzouz (I love foreign press: we Dutch are not allowed to use his last name that easily, our press calls him, therefore, Samir A.), is charged with planning terrorist attacks.
Dutch prosecutors say they have gathered fresh evidence and can now use tougher laws in trying to secure a conviction of Azzouz, whose acquittal sparked discussions about how close a suspect must come to detonating a bomb to be found guilty.
Amsterdam-born Azzouz was first arrested in a police crackdown which followed the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by another Dutch-Moroccan. Ammunition, explosives and sketches of potential targets were found at his home.
He was acquitted in 2005 of charges he planned attacks although he received a three-month prison sentence for possession of weapons, which he served.
He was rearrested in October 2005 on suspicion of a new plot and faces laws introduced since his first arrest and which are intended to allow militants to be arrested and tried for attacks that security forces believe they plan to carry out.
Public attention has focused even more intently on Azzouz since Dutch television screened a “martyr” video in which he appeared with weapons, issued threats in Arabic, and urged jihad.
His explanation of this martyr video? It’s something like a joke. We shouldn’t take it ‘seriously’.
That is because Muslim extremists are well-known for their sense of humor, specifically for their practical jokes: making martyr videos, just for fun, is an example of their kind of practical jokes.
Anyway, the Haaretz also reports that he told Dutch TV (I must have missed this myself) last month that the Netherlands are simply paranoid and Islamophobic. So… he is planning on seeking political asylum in Cuba.
I am not sure whether he would fit in there; Cuba is very Catholic after all. He’d better go to Iran.
Of course, he is – hopefully – not going anywhere. It is of the utmost importance for our Justice Department / our domestic war on terrorism, that he will get convicted.
For those of you who do not know this: when he was first arrested after the murder of Theo van Gogh it was a gigantic spectacle. What should have been a smooth operation turned into a street-war in The Hague: he and his buddies shot at the police, threw hand-grenades, special units went in, snipers were ready to take them out… we never saw something like that here in the Netherlands – we saw it all happening on TV.