The Public Prosecution Service (OM) made another misstep around a key witness. The OM added the address of Nidal S. – a key witness in three murders – to a document issued to the suspect in one of the murders, Follow the Money reported. The witness’s lawyer is furious.
In 2016, Nidal S. informed the police and judiciary that he had crucial information about three murder cases. The alleged perpetrators confessed the murders to him separately while they were incarcerated together. He was not involved in any of the murders. He was serving time for other offenses.
The OM concluded a key witness deal with S. In exchange for his testimony, his prison sentence was reduced by three years, and he only had to pay back half of his criminally earned money (39,000 euros) to the state. The OM would also protect him, according to the agreement. When S. testifies, he does so anonymously – with his voice distorted and his face only visible to the prosecutors and judges.
But despite these security measures, the OM included S.’s whereabouts in the summons issued to one of the murder suspects last autumn, FTM said after seeing the summons. It was the address of a foreign safe house where S. had been staying until recently.
S.’s lawyer Peter Schouten is furious. “I have not been informed of this by the OM. I can also say that there were more problems with my client’s protection agreement,” Schouten told FTM. According to him, the fact that the key witness is no longer staying at the address is irrelevant. Criminals can use that as a starting point to search for him.
It is another major misstep by the OM in the witness protection process. A few years ago, the OM severely blundered in the Marengo trial by putting key witness Nabil B.’s photo in the file sent to the defense attorneys four times.
On Thursday, the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, is debating mistakes made around the protection of Nabil B. and those around him. The Dutch Safety Board (OVV) recently concluded that the OM and police blundered in multiple ways in protecting Nabil’s murdered brother Reduan, lawyer Derk Wiersum, and confidant Peter R. de Vries.
Minister Dilan Yesilgöz of Justice and Security recently publicly apologized to the murdered men’s loved ones on behalf of the Cabinet. “I also think it is important to recognize that the government made mistakes in the security situations of Reduan, Derk Wiersum, and Peter R. de Vries. I deeply regret that these mistakes were made. As the responsible minister, I apologize to the relatives for this,” she said.
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