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Edwin Bakker on the court case of IS fighter Red N.

Away from the public eye, the court case in Turkey against the Dutch jihadist Reda N. came to a close this week. The verdict has far reaching implications for the case against Reda scheduled to appear in front of a Dutch court next week. Edwin Bakker, Professor Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University spoke to Dutch newspaper ‘Telegraaf’ on the matter.

Reda N. left for the conflict zones in July 2014. Reda regretted his decision and, in 2016, escaped to Turkey using a detour. The Turks decided to put Reda on trial in front of their own courts. The Turkish judge sentenced him to six year in prison for participation in a terrorist organisation. After only two years, Reda was suddenly released and allowed to await his appeal in liberty. In July last year Reda flew back to the Netherlands accompanied by the Dutch Royal Marechaussee, where he ended up being imprisoned in a special terrorist wing.

The principles of law

A rule applies within the principles of law that makes it is impossible to prosecute someone twice for the same crime. The Ministry of Justice is of the opinion that this does not apply to Reda, because he had not been sentenced irrevocably. This week, however, the case was definitely closed. If the appeal in Turkey turns out to be irrevocable, it means he can no longer be prosecuted in the Netherlands.

Empty Hands

Edwin Bakker believes that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service should free up more capacity to ascertain exactly what Dutch jihadists have been up to during their time in the caliphate. Without evidence that these so called ‘polderjihadis’ participated in genocides or murders, it is only possible to sentence them with the standard six years for participation in a terrorist organisation. ‘They are working round the clock at the justice department, and it is very difficult to obtain evidence in conflict zones but, if it were up to me, they should address the issue with a lot more urgency.’

You can read the article (in Dutch) on de Telegraaf.

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