Netherlands - petition to end pre-trial detention of alleged terrorists denied

Bron: Rechtbank Rotterdam. Datum actualiteit: 31-12-2002

Following in-camera detention proceedings, the Rotterdam Court decided that the pre-trial detention of three individuals suspected of terrorist activities, was justified and denied the petition for termination of their pre-trial detention. This decision comes after the petition of the defence attorneys' for the three accused who believe that the acquittal of 18 December 2002 in the criminal proceedings against four other individuals suspected of terrorist activities (Operation Eik [Oak]), should lead to the immediate release of their clients.

The defence attorneys argued that their clients, too, were arrested exclusively on the basis of information from a report drawn up by the General Intelligence and Security Office (AIVD), without the addition of the results of an independent criminal investigation coming within the area of responsibility of the Public Prosecution Service (OM). The above information alone would constitute insufficient grounds for the suspicions against their clients. As a result, the evidence gathered from this was obtained illegally. The defence attorneys relied on the judgments passed in the criminal proceedings regarding "Eik" when the Court judged that the report from the General Intelligence and Security Office (AIVD), did not constitute sufficient grounds for the suspicion and arrest of the four men, which subsequently led to their acquittal.

Following the in-camera detention proceedings, the Court denied the petition for termination of pre-trial detention for all three accused. For its decision the Court - following the petitions for termination of pre-trial detention - confined itself to the question whether, pursuant to section 27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Sv), there were sufficient grounds for the suspicions against these accused and whether there were any grave objections against the accused that justified pre-trial detention. The criminal cases have yet to be heard in open court.

What the Court has also considered is that the national Public Prosecutor who is in charge of combating terrorism tested the information from the General Intelligence and Security Office (AIVD) - on the basis of which the accused were arrested - for the legitimacy of obtaining the said information in the General Intelligence and Security Office's (AIVD) report. In the Court's view the said report provides sufficient justification for the suspicion against and arrest of the accused and the ensuing means of coercion.

In the motivation for its decision, the Court points at the broadening of the criteria for suspicion in recent legislation, especially if facts or circumstances lead to the reasonable presumption that certain serious crimes are committed or planned on an organised level. In addition, the Court points at developments in science and criminal law on the basis of which suspicions that are based on anonymous tip-offs, for instance, are considered to be admissible.

Furthermore, in the case of one of the three accused it has appeared that after the said report from the General Intelligence and Security Office (AIVD), the National Police Agency (KLPD) did conduct a follow-up investigation. In the case of another accused the suspicion did not arise until incriminating evidence was found during a search of premises of a co-accused. However, the Court holds that this accused cannot rely on any possible illegality towards the co-accused.


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