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Hofstadgroep trial update: Van Gogh killer forced to appear barely speaks as Hofstad trial continues

December 15, 2005

The 'Hofstad' trial - developments

by RN Security and Defence editor Hans de Vreij*, 13 December 2005

Radio Netherlands




A regularly updated summary of the main developments in the trial of the alleged members of the 'Hofstad' group.

Last update: 13 December 2005


A 17-year-old woman, the ex-wife of Nouredine el-Fatmi, is forced to appear as a witness against her will. She chooses to say nothing. An earlier statement she gave to the police is read out in court. In this, she reports that Nouredine el-Fatmi said that Theo van Gogh and MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali ought to be killed. The statement also describes how her former husband tried to spur her on to carry out a suicide attack on a shopping centre.

The court hears expert witness Professor Ruud Peters (field of expertise: Islamic Law). He says that the main accused, Mohammed Bouyeri, was clearly the central figure in the Hofstad group, but that he did not incite the others to carry out violent acts. He also says that Mohammed Bouyeri's call for opponents to be killed was made a relatively short time before he murdered Theo van Gogh.


The Public Prosecutor's Office announces that Nouredine el-Fatmi will also have to stand trial in the new case against Samir Azzouz, who is now facing charges of planning terrorist attacks. This - separate - trial has yet to begin.

The defence calls Saleh Bouali (accused) as a witness. He's regarded as having been on the periphery of the Hofstad group. Hofstad members have accused him of infiltrating the group on behalf of the AIVD. Samir Azzouz is said to be willing to testify against Saleh Bouali.

The Public Prosecutor's offices says there is no point in calling the man who allegedly inspired the group, Radwan al-Issa, also known as "The Syrian", to testify since he is on the run and seems to have disappeared without trace.


The court begins to hear the accused individually. The first to be questioned is Mohammed Bouyeri, who is already serving a life sentence for killing Theo van Gogh in November 2004. It turns out that he already gave an official statement on 17 November 2005, in which he says that he acted alone and that no one else knew of his plans nor assisted him in any way. He answers very few questions. He also fails to respond when asked if "The Syrian" prompted him to carry out the killing by means of fatwa (a ruling which is normally based on Islamic law).

The court announces that two people have given statements which contain incriminating material concerning Nouredine el-Fatmi. These people will be required to give evidence in the current trial.


Jason Walters (accused) is questioned in court and says he has been in contact with other alleged members of the Hofstad group since 2003. He claims the radical statements he made on the Internet were a matter of 'bragging' on his part.

The court announces that Saleh Bouali will be heard on Monday 12 December.


Saleh Bouali testifies and denies having supplied hand grenades. One of the accused, Jason Walters, responds by saying "why are you lying?". Background information: forensic examination of the grenades failed to find any traces of Saleh Bouali's DNA.

Saleh Bouali also denies having been an AIVD informer, but says he was followed and approached by the intelligence service.
Ismail Akhnikh (accused) says he does not want to give an account of his religious faith. He claims that the throwing of a hand grenade at police during the siege of the flat in The Hague where he was later arrested was the result of panic and that he could do nothing to prevent it from happening.


  • Zakaria Taybi (accused) is called to testify but refuses to speak in court, not even to explain how his name should be pronounced. He is regarded as one of the 'hangers on' of the Hofstad group. He accompanied Jason Walters on a trip to Pakistan in 2003.
  • The court orders the release of Saleh Bouali. Apparently the evidence against him is insufficient to justify holding him in custody any longer. Furthermore, contrary to the claims made by some of the accused, no evidence has been found to establish that he worked for the AIVD.

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