Trial begins in murder of Dutch journalist

Henry

The trial of nine suspects accused of the murder of the award-winning Dutch crime reporter Peter R de Vries finally began on Tuesday in Amsterdam.

De Vries (64) was shot at least five times in a busy street in this city in July 2021 after he left a television studio. Earlier in the day, De Vries appeared on a talk show that was recorded at this studio.

De Vries would succumb to his wounds days later in hospital.

The Dutch authorities claim that gang leaders organized the murder of De Vries because of his role as an adviser to a key witness in the trial of the alleged drug lord Ridouan Taghi, who was arrested in Dubai in 2019.

RNews previously reported that shortly before his death, De Vries acted as an adviser to Nabil B, a state witness who testified in a case against Taghi. Nabil B’s lawyer, Derk Wiersum, was shot dead in the street in front of his house in 2019.

From two to nine suspects

The nine suspects in the murder of De Vries are all of Polish and Antillean descent and between 24 and 37 years old.

Two suspects, identified only as Delano G from the Netherlands and Kamil E from Poland, were arrested shortly after the murder in 2021 and were initially the only suspects in the case.

Delano G was accused of pulling the trigger, while Kamil E was accused of driving the getaway car.

Both have denied the charges against them.

“I didn’t kill anyone. I know nothing about the murder. I did not see a weapon,” Kamil E told the court earlier with the help of a Polish interpreter.

Judges were ready to rule, but then new information emerged that prompted them to reopen the case.

Seven men suspected of having organized and facilitated the murder have since also been criminally charged.

A verdict is now expected in June.

Jasmijn de Zeeuw of Free Press United says the case is “painfully indicative of the potential consequences for those who interfere with the power of organized crime, including journalists”.

RNews previously reported that De Vries had previously received protection from the police after receiving threats regarding his involvement as a reporter in high-profile criminal cases in court. This includes the then kidnapping of the beer magnate Freddy Heineken in 1983. De Vries finally wrote a book about the kidnapping which was later (2015) made into a film with, among others, the actor Anthony Hopkins, namely Kidnapping Freddy Heinekenbecame

However, in 2016 the crime reporter was forced to file a case against notorious gang member Willem Holleeder, one of the men involved in the kidnapping, after Holleeder made death threats towards him. Holleeder is meanwhile serving a life sentence after being found guilty of five murders in 2019.

In 1994, De Vries also tracked down a third kidnapper, Frans Meijer, in Paraguay. Meijer was extradited to the Netherlands in 2002.

De Vries has also already won an international Emmy after he was able to find out what happened to Natalee Holloway, an American teenager who disappeared in 2005 on the Caribbean island of Aruba.