July 15. 2024. 7:17

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Three Poles convicted of participating in killing Dutch journalist

Three Polish men were sentenced to up to 28 years in prison by an Amsterdam court on Wednesday for their role in the murder of Dutch crime journalist Peter de Vries.

On 6 July 2021, 64-year-old de Vries was gunned down in broad daylight on a busy Amsterdam street as he left a TV station. He died from his wounds nine days later.

The murder sparked outrage across the Netherlands, with King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte calling it “an attack on free journalism, which is so important for democracy”.

On Wednesday, the Amsterdam District Court sentenced the shooter, Delano G., the alleged getaway driver, a Polish man named Kamil E., and the man who organised the attack, Krystian M..

Delano G. and Kamil E. were both sentenced to 28 years, while Krystian M., who was sentenced to 26 years, will spend the next 30 years in prison because he is serving another sentence.

“Their actions and recklessness show that they have no regard for human life,” said the presiding judge at the Amsterdam court, Gert Oldekamp, adding that the three showed “unprecedented ruthlessness and unscrupulousness”.

However, the court rejected the life sentences sought by the prosecution, saying they could not be imposed “because this is a single murder and (the suspects) have not been convicted of similar crimes before”.

A spokeswoman for the prosecution, Justine Asbroek, welcomed the convictions.

“We are happy that this criminal case has come to an end (…) (and) for the family that there is finally clarity about those involved in the murder,” she said.

Annemiek van Spanje, a lawyer for the de Vries family, said they were satisfied with the verdict but that “the bottom line is (…) it won’t bring their father back”.

The court convicted three other men of complicity in the murder and sentenced them to between 10 and 14 years in prison.

They included another Polish citizen, Konrad W., who was sentenced to 14 years for supplying the weapon to the main suspects.

Two men suspected of being part of a criminal organisation were acquitted, while a ninth man was acquitted of complicity but convicted of drug possession.

De Vries was a big name in the Netherlands, hosting his own television show on high-profile crime cases from 1995 to 2012. He was also an adviser and confidant to a protected witness in the trial of the alleged leader of a criminal organisation. The witness’s brother and lawyer were both murdered.

Plotting to kidnap Rutte

The convicted Polish citizens were also allegedly involved in another criminal conspiracy involving Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Earlier this year, the daily Het Parool revealed the testimony of the prosecution’s key witness, “Eddy”. He said that Krystian M. had revealed to him that the people who had ordered the journalist’s murder were also planning to kidnap Rutte.

In 2021, De Telegraaf reported that Rutte could be the target of an attack. The government responded by increasing the prime minister’s security detail.

The newspaper reported that the people suspected of preparing an attack on Rutte were linked to the Moroccan drug mafia.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the Moroccans may have given the order to kill de Vries, which is confirmed by the testimony of “Eddy”.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | Euractiv.pl)

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