The trial for the nine suspects charged in the 2021 fatal shooting of Dutch investigative reporter Peter de Vries began in Amsterdam last week with the suspects repeatedly refusing to answer questions from lawyers and judges, the Associated Press reported.
A popular television reporter, de Vries was gunned down on the street in the middle of the day on July 6, 2021. He died nine days later at the age of 64.
Delano G., one of the nine suspects on trial, is accused of shooting de Vries, whose murder outraged the Netherlands, with Dutch King Willem-Alexander describing it as “an attack on journalism” and “the rule of law.”
De Vries’ children Royce and Kelly attended last Tuesday’s proceedings in which the judges showed video footage of their father being followed before the shooting and another video of him lying dead in the street after he was killed.
Text messages allegedly between the nine suspects sent both before and after the shooting were read aloud in court. One message asked how many times the reporter was shot. The reply said de Vries had been shot “four or five times.”
“He’s asleep, don’t worry,” the reply read.
The prosecution alleges that two of the suspects were responsible for filming the murdered reporter and posting the images online.
The veteran journalist had been a confidant of a protected witness in the trial of members of a criminal gang, including its alleged leader Ridouan Taghi. In addition to the execution of de Vries, the protected witness’ brother and attorney were also killed.
A verdict in the criminal gang trial was expected for February but will likely be delayed by further hearings.
Dutch prosecutors have so far not charged any individual for ordering or directing de Vries’ execution.
Some of the suspects on trial have denied involvement in the plot while others refused to speak.
The suspected gunman, Delano G, was arrested less than an hour after de Vries was murdered along with the alleged getaway driver, Polish national Kamil E. The murder weapon was found in their vehicle.
The two defendants initially went on trial in 2022, with prosecutors requesting life sentences. However, the court never pronounced verdicts after prosecutors introduced additional evidence that led to additional arrests in the weeks and months following the murder. The two are now being tried with the other seven suspects.
The trial is set to conclude at the end of February with verdicts expected weeks later.