After lawyer’s murder, extra protection sought for remaining legal team

After yesterday’s brazen killing of lawyer Derk Wiersum, chief public prosecutor Fred Westerbeke has stated that additional measures are being sought to assure the safety of everyone involved in the criminal case against Ridouan Taghi.

Derk Wiersum was representing key witness Nabil Bakkalifor in the case against 16 men tied to multiple gangland killings. Nabil’s brother was also shot dead in an apparent warning against testifying last year. Taghi, the notorious leader of the gang in question, denies involvement in the shootings.

The measures come as Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is set to meet with officials from the public prosecution department and lawyers representatives today, with the intention of discussing new safety precautions in light of the incident. For Grapperhaus, “the aim of the meeting is to try to decide what more can be done to guarantee the safety of lawyers involved in cases of this kind”.

Westerbeke added that Wiersum and officials had discussed the possibility of safety concerns and that certain steps had been taken, but murder had not been under consideration. With the incident, the AD describes it as a “new, dark phase” and “shows that the underworld is prepared to directly attack the rule of law”. Grapperhaus added that the underworld’s grip on society has tightened to the point where a quarter of the country’s mayors have been threatened by criminals


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