Three Men Convicted in Murder of Dutch Journalist - The World News

Three Men Convicted in Murder of Dutch Journalist

A Dutch court on Wednesday sentenced three men to decades in prison for the murder of the renowned crime journalist Peter R. de Vries, whose brazen killing in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street rattled journalists and others across the Netherlands and Europe.

The three men included Mr. de Vries’ killer, the getaway driver and the organizer of the attack. They were identified only by their first names and initials in court: the gunman, Delano G., and his driver, Kamil E., were sentenced to 28 years in prison. Their client, Krystian M., was sentenced to more than 26 years.

The defendants, the court said, showed a “total lack of respect for the life of Peter R. de Vries.”

The proceedings were announced by the Amsterdam District court in a statement on Wednesday.

The conviction represents the most significant to date in the murder of Mr. de Vries, who was gunned down in July 2021 outside a television studio in Amsterdam’s bustling city center. Mr. de Vries — whose work had often landed him in the cross hairs of Amsterdam’s criminal underworld — had reportedly been issued death threats over his involvement in a court case against one of Europe’s most notorious drug lords, Ridouan Taghi.

Three other unnamed men were convicted over their complicity in Mr. de Vries’ killing, and were given sentences ranging from 10 to 14 years, the Dutch court said. Two others were acquitted, and one other was acquitted of his involvement in the murder but convicted of drug possession.

The murder of Mr. de Vries, a renowned crime journalist whose career spanned decades, shattered the image of the Netherlands as a safe, drug-positive society, whose otherwise tolerant reputation has been chipped away at amid a decade-long rise in drug- and gang-related killings. In the aftermath of the shooting, fears of gangland violence led to increased security measures for public officials, including the country’s prime minister.

The Dutch port of Rotterdam has emerged as one of the key European gateways for Latin American cocaine, and Amsterdam as a hub for crystal meth and other illicit drugs, distributed by powerful criminal gangs like those Mr. Taghi is accused of running.

According to the Dutch court, Mr. de Vries’ killing was carefully orchestrated weeks before the shooting occurred. The men used stolen cars with fake license plates, tested firearms and conducted reconnaissance around the busy streets on which Mr. de Vries would eventually be targeted.

Mr. Taghi was separately convicted in a sweeping murder and organized-crime case in February and sentenced to life in prison. That case did not involve Mr. de Vries’ killing, with which Mr. Taghi has not been formally linked or charged.

Mr. de Vries, who along with his career as a journalist also directed a law office, had been advising a key witness in a sweeping case against Mr. Taghi at the time of his murder. The witness’s lawyer and brother were also murdered.

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