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Dutch terrorist sentenced to 3 year in prison for threatening politician after- legal penalties increased by 50%

February 20, 2006


Tuesday, February 14, 2006 Last updated 5:10 p.m. PT

Dutch court jails Islamic radical


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- A Dutch Muslim was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for plotting murder and attempting to recruit prison inmates to carry out terrorist attacks.

Bilal Lamrani, 21, was already serving 10 months in prison for threatening anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders by posting a video on the Internet offering a reward for his beheading.

In its ruling, the Rotterdam court said Lamrani was plotting to kill Wilders or others "with a terrorist intent." It found he had attempted to buy weapons and explosives while in jail and tried to persuade other prisoners to help him carry out attacks.

Prosecution spokeswoman Desiree Leppens said prosecutors were "very happy" with the decision, which could set a precedent for other trials now under way.

Lamrani's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

The court's ruling quoted Lamrani as saying "it would be glorious to die a holy death and that he wanted to blow himself up in a place where many people would be."

The judgment was the first in a terrorism case since the Netherlands enacted laws increasing the penalties by 50 percent for crimes that had "terrorist intent."

"He was still in an early stage of preparation - he didn't actually have anything in his hands yet," Leppens said. "It's a good decision, the first we've had under the new laws."

The court convicted Lamrani on the basis of testimony of prisoners he had approached and on materials in his possession, including computer files containing instruction manuals on bomb-making.

Thirteen other suspected Islamic radicals are on trial in Amsterdam for allegedly belonging to the "Hofstad" group, which prosecutors say also was bent on carrying out attacks.

That group includes Mohammed Bouyeri, who is serving a life sentence for the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Van Gogh was killed shortly after releasing the television film "Submission," a fierce critique of the treatment of women under Islam written by an anti-immigration member of parliament. He was also putting the final touches to "06/05," a feature-length film about the May 2002 assassination of populist anti-immigration politician politician Pim Fortuyn by an animal-rights activist.

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