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Marengo Trial Verdict: Ridouan Taghi and Criminal Organization Face Penalties

27 Feb 2024 at 05:02

The Marengo trial seemed to go on forever, but on Tuesday the long-awaited verdict finally came. After almost six years, Ridouan Taghi and his alleged criminal organization will hear whether and what penalties they will receive for involvement in multiple liquidations.

“The Marengo virus. It never goes away. You carry it with you, it goes away and then it flares up again.” These are words of lawyer Guy Weski, recently spoken when the Marengo trial threatened to be delayed again. Ultimately, the ruling date remained today, February 27.

This Tuesday the court will decide whether six life sentences should indeed be imposed, as demanded by the Public Prosecution Service (OM). One of those suspects is Ridouan Taghi. In addition to the six suspects for whom life sentences have been imposed, eleven other suspects are awaiting their sentences.

Weski’s words convey the sentiment well. This arose after many days in the extra-secure court in Amsterdam, better known as the bunker. Just when you thought you were almost done with it, there was another development that caused delays or extra hearing days. The most sad examples are the three fatalities, all of whom have ties to key witness Nabil B.

With the announcement on March 23, 2018 that B. had chosen to make incriminating statements against co-suspects in exchange for a reduced sentence, the Marengo trial began. “The Public Prosecution Service hopes that the key witness can put an end to the negative spiral of excessive violence and the inviolability of clients,” the justice said. at the time.

That goal was not achieved. Six days later, the innocent brother of the key witness, Reduan, was murdered in his company in Amsterdam. A year later, Derk Wiersum was shot dead. At that time he was Nabil B’s lawyer. The death of Peter R. de Vries followed in July 2021. Murdered because he assisted the key witness as a confidant, the Public Prosecution Service concluded.

B.’s new lawyer, Onno de Jong, said he could only conclude that Marengo “is the most diseased, poisoned process ever”, according to the lawyer at the first hearing after De Vries’ murder. He characterized the murders of the people around the key witness as “the saddest series in the history of Dutch criminal law”.

Public Prosecution Service speaks of a ‘well-oiled killing machine’

It was a process that lasted 142 sitting days, without counting any appeal. During those court days, a total of seventeen people were confronted with the suspicion that they were part of a “well-oiled killing machine”, as the justice department describes it.

According to the Public Prosecution Service, several suspects were used “to commit murders as efficiently as possible. There was a fixed division of roles between drivers, spotters and shooters. A human life was worth nothing.”

In Marengo there were a total of six liquidations, attempted murders and preparations for murders. One of the victims was the well-known crime blogger Martin Kok.

Two lawyers arrested, others abandon defense

According to the Public Prosecution Service, the criminal organization was headed by Ridouan Taghi. The 46-year-old man who was arrested at the end of 2019 and was more often not present during the Marengo trial. Taghi always felt that it was already certain that he would get a life sentence, so what was the point of showing up?

Taghi not only attracted attention because of the strong suspicions against his person. One of his lawyers was arrested twice during the trial. First his media lawyer and cousin Youssef Taghi, who was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison in early 2023.

And Inez Weski, who is suspected of abusing her position and acting as a conduit for her client. A suspicion that has still not been dealt with at a hearing.

Taghi’s new defense team also did not reach the end of the Marengo trial. Lawyers Michael Ruperti, Arthur van der Biezen and Sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen said at the end of last year that they had the feeling that they were only being thwarted by the court. They see a role for themselves in an appeal, which will undoubtedly follow.

But first, after almost six years, the court will have the floor on Tuesday. The Marengo trial will be decided under extreme security measures.

2024-02-27 04:02:54

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