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The two defendants, who judges say acted as hired assassins, were sentenced to 30 years in prison. — Reuters pic
The two defendants, who judges say acted as hired assassins, were sentenced to 30 years in prison. — Reuters pic

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AMSTERDAM, Oct 11 — Dutch judges today convicted two men for the 2019 killing of a lawyer who was acting in a high-profile drugs case later taken on by celebrity crime reporter Peter R. De Vries, who was shot and killed earlier this year.

The two defendants, who judges say acted as hired assassins, were sentenced to 30 years in prison because the murder of someone “in service of the rule of law” shocked Dutch society. The case did not focus on who ordered the hit, the judges added.

Lawyer Derk Wiersum was acting for a suspect-turned-state witness identified as Nabil B., in a case against alleged drug lord Ridouan Taghi.

Taghi is currently on trial for drug trafficking and murders within the trafficking world. He told judges in February he rejects the accusations and “has nothing to do with the murders or a criminal organisation”.

After Wiersum’s death, reporter De Vries stepped in as counsellor, but not officially a lawyer, to Nabil B. while he testified in the case against Taghi and his alleged associates.

De Vries, who worked on numerous underworld cases, died in July after being gunned down on a busy Amsterdam street. His killing caused an outpouring of grief and anger in the Netherlands and abroad.

Two suspects of that murder are in custody, awaiting trial in a case which also does not focus on who ordered the hit. Taghi in 2019 denied reports that he had threatened to have De Vries killed and his lawyer has noted he has not been charged with either the murder of Wiersum or De Vries. — Reuters

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