The Dutch Prosecutor's Office asks for life imprisonment for the two accused of the murder of journalist Peter R. de Vries

The Dutch Prosecutor’s Office has asked this Tuesday for life imprisonment for the two suspects in the murder of the Dutch criminal investigative reporter Peter R. de Vries, 64, who was shot dead in Amsterdam in July 2021. The prosecution considers that Delano G., 22-year-old Dutch national and 36-year-old Polish Kamil E. are responsible for killing him in exchange for money. The first, considered the gunman, has remained silent during the opening session of the trial against him. Kamil E., who was driving during the getaway, denies any involvement in the crime. The journalist was shot at least four times while walking down a street in the center of the Dutch capital, and the crime unleashed a wave of popular outrage.

In the Netherlands, there are differences between a 30-year prison sentence and life imprisonment. The second, reserved for murders or crimes of terrorism, was fulfilled in its entirety until 2016. Since then, there is the possibility of a review provided that the subject has already spent 25 years in prison. The Prosecutor’s Office argues its request alleging that “if a suspect acts with this lack of scruple, society must protect itself.”

A photo of the murdered journalist and a multitude of flowers reminded him of being in Amsterdam last July, at the place where he was shot.
A photo of the murdered journalist and a multitude of flowers reminded him of being in Amsterdam last July, at the place where he was shot.Peter Dejong (AP)

De Vries was well known in the Netherlands because he had dedicated his career to investigating unsolved crimes, and both the government and the highest representatives of the European Union described his murder as an “attack against fundamental values ​​and freedom of the press”.

“Is dead. well dead”

Delano G. and Kamil E. were arrested last July, hours after the journalist was shot. They were in a car on the highway, and according to the police, the murder weapon was in the vehicle. During the trial, the messages found on a phone that was in the same car were read. They say thus: “he is dead. Well dead.” “The bullet went through his head. Good. Everybody was screaming.” In the same conversation, a person previously unknown to prosecutors wants to know how many shots were fired. “Four or five”, is the answer.

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While Delano G. and Kamil E. are responsible only for de Vries’s death, the investigation into his potential clients is ongoing and handled by another team. The Prosecutor’s Office has indicated that the attack may be related to the advice provided by the journalist to the prosecution witness in the process against organized crime in the country. Its about Marengo case, whose main suspect is Ridouan Taghi, who allegedly ran the largest criminal and drug trafficking network in the Netherlands. Locked up in a maximum security prison, he is tried for his alleged involvement in a dozen murders. Also for being the leader of the so-called mocro mobwhich controls drug trafficking in the ports of Antwerp (Belgium) and Amsterdam, and which is made up of Belgian and Dutch citizens, along with several of Moroccan origin, such as Taghi himself, Antilleans and Albanians.

“Nope”. It was the only response to the Delano G. judge when he asked if he could explain the origin of the gun found in the car, or about the gunshot residue found on his hands. Raised by his mother and his stepfather, he did not finish school – compulsory until the age of 16 – and has several convictions for theft when he was a minor. For his part, Kamil E., who denies having killed anyone or having sent any message, stated: “That Pole asked me if he wanted to test the weapon; I couldn’t and that’s why I returned it to him”, without explaining who he was referring to. He lives with her girlfriend, her two children, and the baby they have had together. He is an electrician and has worked in construction. Police say that in Poland he was sentenced to five years in prison for robbery with violence. In the Netherlands he had no criminal record.

The children of Peter R. de Vries have also intervened to remember their father. The son, Royce, has evoked the figure of a “given” parent. “He was our rock, for the whole family and for anyone who needed him,” he added. Kelly, her sister, has said that the alleged murderers will carry this death on her conscience: “Meanwhile, my father will go down in history as a hero.” Next week will be the defense’s turn, and the judges are expected to rule in mid-July.

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