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Nine people go on trial for murder of Dutch reporter

The trial of nine suspects in the murder of high-profile Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, whose killing stunned the Netherlands and spotlighted the country’s drug gang underworld, has begun.

Mr De Vries, 64, was shot dead on a busy Amsterdam street in July 2021, shortly after leaving a television studio where he was appearing as a guest.

Authorities believe gang leaders ordered his murder due to his role as adviser to a key witness in the trial of alleged drugs baron Ridouan Taghi, who was arrested in Dubai in 2019.

Two suspects, identified only as Dutch man Delano G. and Kamil E. from Poland, were arrested shortly after the incident. Prosecutors have called for them to serve a life sentence.

Prosecutors believe Delano G. pulled the trigger and Kamil E. drove the getaway car and carried out surveillance prior to the shooting.

Just before the verdict against the pair, new information emerged that prompted judges to reopen the case.

Seven men suspected of organising and facilitating the killing have been added to the trial, in addition to Delano G. and Kamil E.

At the start of the hearing, all nine suspects either denied the charges or invoked their right to silence, according to local news agency ANP.

One suspect, Erickson O., told the court: “I didn’t know who he (De Vries) was and I did not know he was a famous person.”

The court has said a verdict is expected in June, with the prosecutors due to set out their sentencing request next week.

The trial has “painfully demonstrated the potential repercussions for those interfering with the power of organised crime, including journalists”, said Jasmijn de Zeeuw from the Free Press Unlimited group.

Hearings will take place in an extra high-security “bunker” at the court in Amsterdam.

Mr De Vries was a household name in the Netherlands and his killing sparked an outpouring of grief, with thousands of mourners paying their respects to a national “hero” when he died.

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