Hague: Hofstad group was not a terrorist organization

The Hague court decided today that the Hofstad group were not a criminal and terrorist organization. The seven suspected members of the group were acquitted.

The group of friends formed by the suspects was not organized as a terrorist and criminal organization, according to the court. This assumes a long lasting cooperation according to a specified structure, which was missing for the Hofstad group, judged the court. The seven did not share common ideas or plans to commit violence or incite people as a group.

The court sentenced suspect Jason Walters (22) to 15 years in prison for the possession of four grenades and for throwing one of them at five policemen during his arrest in November 2004 in the Hague. Co-suspect Ismael Akhnikh (24), at the time roommate of Walters, was not connected to the throwing of the grenade, according to the court. He was acquitted of being an accomplice, but got a prison sentence of 15 months for possession of the remaining grenades.

Yasar Özdemir, Jason Walters' lawyer, said his client's acquittal was a victor, but is disappointed with the severe penalty for throwing the grenade. Ismael Akhnikh's lawyer, Ronald van der Horst, was happy. "The court carefully applied the rules for terrorist organizations." His client was freed today becanse he has sat in prison long enogh already. the public prosecution said they were disappointed with the acquittals.

Spokesperson Thea Tjeerdema couldn't say if they would appeal or not. "the sentence is the first on a terrorist organization on the basis of the new law from 2004. We will see if the limits given by the court offer starting points to approach the Supreme Court." In 2006, the Rotterdam court had said the Hofstad group were a criminal and terrorist organization, and sentenced the seven suspects to prison sentences of one to five years.

Source: AD (Dutch)

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