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The mega trial that exposed the enormous power that criminal gangs have in the Netherlands

It is considered the largest criminal trial in Dutch history.

This Tuesday, several members of a drug cartel involved in a series of murders in the European country were sentenced to life in prison.

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The “undisputed” leader of the gang, Ridouan TaghiFor years he was one of the most wanted fugitives by authorities.

Taghi was arrested for murder, firearms crimes and aggravated robbery.

Two other men, Said R and Mario R, whose full names cannot be revealed under Dutch law, were also sentenced to life in prison.

Those involved were found guilty of complicity in murder, attempted murder and preparation for and complicity in murder.

But as part of this huge trial, 17 other people were sentenced to sentences ranging from life imprisonment to one year and nine months in prison.

Dutch police and the European Union’s police agency Europol shared this photo of Ridouan Taghi while he was on the run. (DUTCH POLICE).


The nature and scale of this case are unprecedented In Holland.

It took 142 days of hearings, spread over almost six years, 800 pages of arguments and more than 3,000 pages of lawyers’ documents to reach Tuesday’s verdicts.

From the beginning, the “megatrial”, which started March 11, 2021was surrounded by secrecy and security.

The president of the court said that the trial “Marengo”which takes its name from the keyword of the police operation that led to the arrests, involved acts of “relentless and disturbing violence”.

“When we read the messages from the archive, we end up in a world where human life has no value,” he said.

The trial captivated a country that had recently been forced to confront its violent criminal world.

The gang prepared their murders using “spotters” and sophisticated sound equipment.

According to the court, the organization had not only armed men and drivers among its numerous members, but also corrupt officials who provided privileged information.



The leader

taghi46 years old, was found guilty of being the undisputed leader of the criminal organization, believed to have been one of the largest drug cartels in the Netherlands.

He was the subject of an international arrest warrant and ended up detained in Dubai in 2019, where he lived under the radar in a suburban mansion.

Under his leadership, five people were killed over 18 months. In addition, there were two attempted murders and other crimes were planned.

An attack was also planned against a “spy shop” that sold sophisticated surveillance equipment and where the gang were regular customers.

For years, Taghi and his group appeared to operate with impunity: their crimes were obscured by a culture of fear and silence.

Criminal rivals, partners who did not pay their debts or speak to the gang’s enemies or the police ran the risk of ending up on a hit list for annihilation.

Taghi’s methods belonged to a new type of Dutch gangster who grew up in the vacuum left by notorious old-school gangsters like Willem Holleeder. His appearance marked a worrying escalation in the war on drugs.

The ease with which Taghi decided someone should be killed was described by the judges as “shocking” and ruthless.

In some cases, minors were present when their parents were shot to death.



On court

taghi He was not among the eight suspects who appeared in court on Tuesday.

Those who did They were taken to a high security courtnicknamed “bunker”in armored vehicles.

Heavily armed police stood guard outside the building, wearing bulletproof vests and balaclavas, while surveillance drones flew overhead.

The court highlighted that none of the surviving family members of the criminals’ victims used the right to speak or filed a complaint as the injured party, to fear and the vulnerability that they still feel.

One person who spoke was a man called Nabil B, who became the key witness in the megatrial.

Court cameras only filmed him below the neck, to hide his identity.

Nabil B was found guilty of being an accessory to murder, but was sentenced to less than 10 years due to personal circumstances and the role he played in bringing his former colleagues to justice.

Just before reading the verdict, the court reflected on three murders of people close to Nabil B, all of which occurred while the investigation was ongoing.

A week after it became public that Nabil B had become an informant, in early 2018, his brother was shot dead.

A year later, Nabil B’s lawyer, Derk Wiersum, was murdered in front of his house.

Then, in July 2021, his confidant, investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries, was shot after leaving a television studio in central Amsterdam. He died shortly afterwards.

Nabil B described the Marengo case as “the most sickening and poisonous trial ever carried out”.

Before the sentences were read on Tuesday, the court said these three murders added a “dark tone” to the proceedings.

These murders are now being examined in separate trials.

Source: Elcomercio

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