Ridouan Taghi’s new lawyers want guarantees from the Public Prosecution Service (OM) that they will not be tapped when they talk to their predecessor Inez Weski. In addition, they want the Marengo liquidation process to be postponed by nine months.
The lawyers need those months to properly read up on the extensive file, said lawyer Sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen on Friday during a session in the heavily guarded De Bunker court. He is one of Taghi’s three lawyers. Colleague Arthur van der Biezen also wants to talk to Inez Weski in preparation, who previously assisted Taghi but was arrested in April. “But when I walk into Weski’s office, I don’t want to feel like everything is being recorded. We want to be able to work unobserved.”
It has been rumored for some time that lawyer Inez Weski was tapped at the office for months before she was arrested. She is suspected of participating in a criminal organization and violating secrets. She is said to have passed on messages from Taghi from the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught to the outside world. Weski, who was detained for a few weeks, then decided to stop being Taghi’s lawyer.
With the wish of a nine-month delay, a huge delay in the liquidation process beckons. Last week, the court itself announced that the ruling date of October 20 will not be met ‘in view of the complexity’ of the case. This is now the wish of Taghi’s lawyers. Moreover, a session around key witness Nabil B. was also canceled on Thursday, because he is still without lawyers.
Five years and three months
The problem is mainly that there is no sight yet on a new concrete date. This uncertainty prompted the lawyers of eight clients to ask for their release for the time being. “I planned to retire in 2035, but I wonder if there will be a verdict yet,” says lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers with a wink. Then more seriously: “When my client was detained, he was 23, now he is 30. This is getting out of hand.”
According to Guy Weski, one of his clients has been detained for five years and three months: “I don’t think anyone has ever been in pretrial detention longer than he has been,” says Guy Weski, who also assists three other suspects who have been charged with a life sentence. “I understand that it would be unique for them to have their pre-trial detention suspended. But you also have to ask yourself whether they ultimately have a conviction.”
Suspect Zakaria El H., who has been in pretrial detention for five years, gives an emotional argument herself: “It feels like a gallows is dangling around my neck and I am standing on a chair with three legs in the air. The verdict is on October 20, you said. I counted on that. But no, it is in this case: disappointment upon disappointment upon disappointment. It is to drive you crazy.”
The problem surrounding Ridouan Taghi’s defense arose when his lawyer Inez Weski was arrested in April. She is suspected of participating in a criminal organization and violating secrets. She is said to have passed on messages from Taghi from the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught to the outside world. Weski, who was detained for a few weeks, then decided to stop being Taghi’s lawyer. She has since been released, but remains a suspect in the case.
Lawyer Michael Ruperti then came to the rescue by assembling a new defense team. He found colleagues Sjoerd van Berge Henegouwen and Arthur van der Biezen willing to join as well. The latter reminded the court on Friday that it was the Public Prosecution Service that had pulled the brakes in this case. Van der Biezen: “Weski’s suspicion dates from 2019 to 2021, but she was only arrested two years later. Why was that then? Why not half a year later?”
Marengo revolves around main suspect Ridouan Taghi and sixteen co-defendants. The organization is linked to six murders and four attempted murders. The sample process is in its final phase. Taghi and five others have been sentenced to life imprisonment. In addition, all suspects – except star witness Nabil B. – have already been allowed to defend themselves against all suspicions for the second time.
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