Dutch Muslims Convicted of Planning Terror Attacks

December 1, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Dec. 1 - Four Dutch Muslims were convicted and sentenced Friday of plotting terrorist attacks - a victory for prosecutors who had failed several times in the past to convict would-be attackers before they act.

The heaviest sentence - eight years - was reserved for Samir Azzouz, 20, who judges said played a "central role" in the group and had prepared a suicide video meant to "strike terrible fear into the Dutch people."

Prosecutors said the group was plotting to attack Dutch politicians, including Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, and the headquarters of the Dutch intelligence agency.

Azzouz had been arrested twice before as part of investigations into alleged terrorist activities. The first time, he had bombmaking materials, but he was released without charge on a technicality.

The second time, he was charged with planning an attack - but was acquitted when the judges ruled the preparations had not advanced far enough to prove a terrorist conspiracy.