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Court convicts 6 over Dutch crime reporter’s murder

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A Dutch court on Wednesday convicted and sentenced six men in connection with the murder of a well-known crime reporter and television presenter.

Sixty-four-year-old journalist Peter R. de Vries was fatally shot on an Amsterdam street in July 2021 as he left a TV station. Nine men — members of an organized crime group which targeted de Vries over his involvement in a murder trial, Dutch authorities alleged — were arrested and charged.

Prosecutors requested life sentences for the three main suspects, including the shooter and getaway driver, and three to 21 years for six others they alleged were connected to the killing.

The court on Wednesday convicted six of the nine men on various charges after a grinding three-year trial. It did not hand down a life sentence to the three main suspects, instead sentencing two of them to 28 years in prison and the other to 26 years. A seventh man was also sentenced to just four weeks in prison for drug possession. Two others were acquitted.

The court said it could not be proved that de Vries was killed because of his involvement in the murder trial and dismissed the prosecutor’s claim that two men who filmed and posted the attack online had a terrorist motive.

The brutal slaying sent shockwaves through Dutch society. | Marcel Van Hoorn/AFP via Getty Images

But the court denounced the “staggering” ease with which the killers ambushed and shot de Vries, calling their conduct “disgusting.”

“They have not taken responsibility for their actions,” the court added.

The brutal slaying sent shockwaves through Dutch society, drawing condemnation from King Willem-Alexander, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who called it “an attack on the free journalism that is so essential for democracy.”

De Vries was a household name in the Netherlands, hosting his own television show covering high-profile crime cases from 1995 to 2012. Thousands of mourners queued for hours to pay their respects at his public memorial.

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