Terrorist arrested in London connected to Van Gogh murder - Jihad recruiter who vowed suicide attacks
Members of Dutch Hofstad group international terror network trained in Chechnya - arrests continuing
June 26, 2005
Dutch Hofstad group behind murder is international terror organisation with members who trained in Chechnya June 26, 2005
MIM: The arrests of terrorists involved in the Van Gogh murder continue worldwide. It should be noted that one of the main detainees , Jason W. a Dutch convert to Islam whose father was America was found to have more then 80 email addresses of contacts in America on his computer - and the investigation is continuing. The murder trial is expected to resume on July 16th in Amsterdam.
LONDON (Reuters) - A Dutchman appeared in a British court on Thursday on an extradition warrant linking him to the murder last year of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh.
Racid Belkacem, 32, was detained in the Whitechapel area of London on Wednesday on a Dutch extradition warrant accusing him of offences including possession of firearms and forged documentation and of "terrorist-related recruitment".
Charges read out in Bow Street Magistrates Court on Thursday accused him of association with the militant Islamic Hofstad Group, suspected by Dutch intelligence of carrying out the murder.
"The main charge is that he is associated with a terrorist group that conspired to murder a Dutch film producer who was shot and stabbed because he had information regarding this terrorist group," a court official said.
She said Belkacem was also accused of recruiting for the Jihad militant group.
Van Gogh, 47, who was murdered in Amsterdam in November, had previously received multiple death threats after his film about violence against women in Islamic societies was aired on Dutch television.
His violent death shook traditionally liberal Dutch society.
The court heard that prior to Belkacem's arrival in England in January this year, he had talked of a suicide attack against an unspecified target.
Speaking in Arabic through an interpreter, Belkacem spoke only to confirm his name and age.
He was remanded in custody until July 1 when he will appear again via video-link. The next extradition hearing is scheduled to take place on July 8.
AMSTERDAM, June 24 (Reuters) - The Dutch government announced plans on Friday to issue exclusion orders for terrorist suspects who authorities see as a threat but have been unable to convict of a specific crime.
The cabinet said in a statement it wants to be able to ban people suspected of being involved in or supporting terrorist activities from a specific building or area. It also wants to be able to prevent them going near another particular individual.
Several Dutch politicians have been under heavy guard since the murder last year of outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh due to death threats for their criticism of radical Islam.
The new proposals appear similar to anti-terrorism measures introduced by Britain that have come under fire from human rights organisations.
The Dutch plans say suspects might also be required to report regularly to the police. The measures proposed in draft legislation could be imposed for three months at a time up to a maximum of two years.
"The measures are expressly meant to be preventative to protect national security," the government said, adding the orders would be made on the basis of confidential information from the AIVD security service.
The Dutch cabinet also agreed to plans to force non-profit organisations to publish details of their income and spending to stop them being misused to finance terrorist activities.
The plans come after a court acquitted a Dutch-Moroccan teenager in April of charges he planned attacks on government buildings, Schiphol airport and the Dutch parliament.
Dutch authorities raised a national security alert last year after they arrested Samir Azzouz and found machinegun cartridges, a bullet-proof vest, two mock explosive devices, a silencer, maps and sketches of prominent buildings in his home.
The Rotterdam court ruled that items found at Azzouz's home seemed to be intended for use in some crime but were not enough to convict him for planning specific attacks.
Dutch security services arrested three people this week on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist organisation, one of them linked to the man charged with the murder of Van Gogh.
British police also arrested a Dutch citizen in London on suspicion of belonging to the same militant network known as the Hofstad group, whose members are suspected of plotting attacks.
A top European human rights watchdog criticised Britain earlier this month after it introduced laws allowing it to restrict terrorism suspects' freedom of movement, where they live and who they communicate with.
A report by the Council of Europe said some of the British restrictions could be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Terror suspect in Dutch murder link By Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent
A DUTCH terror suspect held by Scotland Yard is allegedly linked to the Islamist gang blamed for the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh, a court was told yesterday.
Rachid Belkacem faces extradition to the Netherlands over claims that he "maintained contact" with the Hofstad group suspected of responsibility for the murder of Mr van Gogh.
The film-maker and news- paper columnist was murdered on an Amsterdam street last November. He had received death threats after his film Submission outraged Muslims with its accusations that Islam condoned violence against women.
Mr Belkacem, who was arrested in Whitechapel, east London, on Wednesday, is also alleged to have discussed a suicide attack and been involved in recruiting for Jihad in the Netherlands.
Bow Street Magistrates' Court was told that Mr Belkacem left Holland for Britain in January. Two months later police raided his home in the Netherlands and found guns, ammunition, video tapes and computer files suggesting Jihad recruitment.
Rosemary Fernandes, appearing for the Dutch Government, said that Mr Belkacem, 32, "is committed to the Jihad movement and we say he is a Muslim fundamentalist". She said that the offences in the extradition warrant were alleged to have occurred between January 1 last year and January 16 this year.
Miss Fernandes said: "He allegedly maintained contact with suspected persons involved in the organisation of terrorist acts, namely the Hofstad group suspected of being responsible for the murder of Theo van Gogh."
She said that while Mr Belkacem, a Dutch citizen, was in the Netherlands "it is alleged he made remarks suggesting the commission of a suicide attack". The police search of his home uncovered evidence that he had prepared or supplied fake travel papers.
During the hearing Mr Belkacem sat in the dock listening to an Arabic interpreter. He spoke very little apart from confirming his name and address.
He refused to rise to identify himself to the court and it was suggested at one point that he may have an injury to his leg. No formal explanation was given to Daphne Wickham, the District Judge, who allowed him to remain seated.
Mr Belkacem indicated that he would not agree to be extradited to the Netherlands and would fight the application. No application was made for bail but Mark Summers, his counsel, told the court that he would challenge the validity of the Dutch extradition warrant at a full hearing on July 8.
Mr van Gogh was shot as he cycled through Amsterdam. The killer then slit Mr van Gogh's throat so deeply that his head was almost severed. His final act was to affix a five-page letter to the corpse by plunging another knife into Mr van Gogh's chest. It was addressed to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch MP from Somalia who had collaborated with Mr van Gogh on Submission.
Mohammed B,(Bouyeri) a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan, was later arrested for the murder and has been linked by the Dutch to a militant Islamic group dubbed the Hofstad group, named after the Hague, where it was based.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Authorities have arrested two Chechen citizens in France and the Netherlands in connection with the November slaying of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, prosecutors said Thursday.
One of the suspects was arrested May 18 in Tours, France and was identified under Dutch privacy rules only as Bislan I., 25, prosecution spokesman Rob Meulenbroek said. The second suspect, identified as Marad J., 22, was arrested April 19 in Amsterdam.
Both are believed to have ties to a group of Islamic fundamentalists which prosecutors dubbed the Hofstad network, Meulenbroek said.
A 27-year-old Dutchman, Mohammed Bouyeri, is awaiting trial on a charge of murdering Van Gogh and belonging to the Hofstad network.
Van Gogh was shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street Nov. 2. The filmmaker was an outspoken critic of the treatment of women under Islam and that was the subject of his last film "Submission." He also wrote a weekly newspaper column and hosted a TV talk show that he sometimes used to provoke and insult religious Muslims, as well as Jews and Christians.
The killer shot Van Gogh, then cut his throat and pinned a five-page note to his chest laced with religious ramblings and threats of further attacks on politicians in the name of radical Islam. The killing set off a wave of retaliatory attacks on Dutch mosques.
Bouyeri was arrested in a shootout with police minutes after the killing. At pretrial hearings, he has said he "wants to be held responsible for his actions," though he stopped short of a confession.
Prosecutors have said they believe Bouyeri had logistical support in carrying out the killing, but have not charged other suspects.
Meulenbroek said fingerprints of one Chechen suspect were found on a suicide note Bouyeri left and fingerprints of the other were found on a cassette tape Bouyeri recorded shortly before the killing.
"We're looking for an explanation of how those fingerprints came to be there, and also whether this is related to the murder of Van Gogh," Meulenbroek said.
Bislan I. will be extradited to the Netherlands within weeks, Meulenbroek said.
Separately, 12 other men were arrested in the month following Van Gogh's death for allegedly belonging to the Hofstad network. They face trial in Rotterdam. Lawyers for the men have said they are all innocent.
The Dutch secret service said several of the 12 Rotterdam suspects received weapons and bomb-making training in Chechnya, the breakaway Russian republic where Islamic rebels have been fighting for more than a decade for independence.
Dutch authorities have ordered the release of a 22-year-old Chechen man arrested two months ago in connection with the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
Prosecutors detained the defendant, identified only as Marad J, on April 19 after finding his fingerprints at the home of Van Gogh's alleged killer, Mohammed Bouyeri.
"While the suspicion of terrorist activities turned out to be justified, the investigation didn't provide sufficient evidence," prosecutors said in a statement. A second Chechen suspect, detained on May 18 in Tours, France, remained in custody.
Both are believed to have ties to a group of Islamic fundamentalists known as the Hofstad network, believed to be behind Van Gogh's killing on November 2.
Mohammed Bouyeri's trial is due to start on July 11. More than a dozen other defendants are also awaiting trial on terrorism charges.
MIM: Translation: A special arrest team arrested one of the leading members of the Hofstad group a network of radical Muslims around Mohammed Bouyeri Wednesday evening. Nouredinne B (22) was found to be in position of a loaded machine gun pistol and extra munitions at the time of his arrest.
Noredinne El F. is being held on charges of weapon possession and suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organisation, as are two women aged 21 and 26 who were arrested with El F.
Noureddine el F. was a close friend of Mohammed Bouyeri who is the suspected killer of filmmakier Theo van Gogh. The Moroccan was already being watched by security services (AIVD) as a fundamentalist Muslim who advocated violent struggle.
AMSTERDAM/DEN HAAG - Een speciaal arrestatieteam heeft woensdagavond een vooraanstaand lid gearresteerd van de Hofstadgroep, een netwerk van radicale moslims rond Mohammed B. Het gaat om de Marokkaan Nouredine el F. (22) die bij zijn arrestatie in Amsterdam in het bezit was van een doorgeladen machinepistool en extra munitie.
Nouredine el F. wordt naast verboden wapenbezit verdacht van lidmaatschap van een terroristische organisatie, net als twee vrouwen van 21 en 26jaar die samen met El F. zijn opgepakt.
Nouredine el F. is een goede bekende van Mohammed B., de vermoedelijke moordenaar van cineast Theo van Gogh. De Marokkaan is al sinds 2002 in beeld bij de inlichtingendienst AIVD als een ‘fundamentalistische' moslim die de gewelddadige strijd propageert.
Uit vertrouwelijke stukken van de geheime dienst blijkt dat EL F. sinds 2002 een ‘centrale rol' had tijdens de huiskamerbijeenkomsten in de woning van Mohammed B. waaruit de Hofstadgroep is voortgekomen. In een van die bijeenkomsten opperde hij een ‘bomaanslag' waarbij veel doden zouden vallen. El F. en zijn twee medeverdachten worden vandaag voorgeleid aan de rechter-commissaris.
De arrestatie in Amsterdam van Nouredine El F., die al sinds de moord op Van Gogh werd gezocht, was volgens de betrokken diensten een gecoördineerde actie van de AIVD, het Openbaar Ministerie en de Nationale Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding.
Uit ambtsberichten van de AIVD van begin dit jaar blijkt dat de dienst Nouredine el F. afluisterde. Het ging om een gesprek met een verdachte in een Zeeuws onderzoek naar mensensmokkel. Enkele verdachten in dat onderzoek zouden de geestelijk leider van de Hofstadgroep, de Syriër Abu Khaled, het land uit hebben gesmokkeld op de dag dat Theo van Gogh werd vermoord.
Een van de verdachten is eerder deze week aangehouden in Londen. Het gaat om de 32-jarige Nederlander Rachid B., die volgens Scotland Yard onder meer wordt verdacht van illegaal wapenbezit, het vervalsen van reisdocumenten en het rekruteren van mensen voor terroristische activiteiten. Het Openbaar Ministerie heeft om de uitlevering van RachidB. gevraagd en verdenkt hem van lidmaatschap van een terroristische organisatie.
Nouredine el F. zou samen met twee andere verdachte leden van de Hofstadgroep een aanslag hebben beraamd tijdens het EK voetbal in Portugal in 2004. Na zijn arrestatie in Portugal werd hij in Nederland ondervraagd door de AIVD. In dat gesprek noemde hij Mohammed B. gevaarlijk.