Dutch court sentences drug lord to life in prison for gangland murders

Dutch police outside court
Dutch police outside court Copyright Peter Dejong/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with Agencies
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Two other suspects were also sentenced to life for their role in the killings, while 14 others were given different jail terms.

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A court in the Netherlands on Tuesday sentenced the mastermind behind what is thought to be the country’s largest drug cartel to life in prison.

The sentencing judge described Ridouan Taghi, who has been convicted of five murders, as the “undisputed leader” of a “murder organisation”.

Two other suspects were also sentenced to life for their role in the killings, while 14 others were given different jail terms.

The lengthy trial has enthralled and rattled the Netherlands, exposing the deadly reality of the country’s drug-fuelled criminal underworld.

Taghi was the Netherlands' most wanted man for years before being extradited from Dubai in 2019 and flown home to face trail. Since court proceedings against him began almost six years ago, the brother of a key witness, his lawyer, and a journalist have all been killed.

He and several co-defendants did not attend the final day of their trial at a tightly guarded courthouse on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Heavily armed police officers wearing body armour, helmets, and ski masks patrolled streets around the court, while judges reading out the verdict remained anonymous.

“He decided who would be killed and spared no one,” the presiding judge said. “The amount of suffering Taghi caused to the victims and their loved ones is barely imaginable.”

The court ruled that Taghi also used extreme violence to intimidate enemies and potential police informants.

The convictions and sentences can be appealed.

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