Saïd R., Taghi’s right-hand man, could face life in prison

On Friday, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded life in prison against Saïd R., the alleged right-hand man of Ridouan Taghi, in the extensive Marengo assassinations trial. Among other things, R. is suspected of involvement in several murders and attempted murders and of leading a criminal organization. The OM described it as a “completely unscrupulous organization.”

R. was in court to hear the demand. He mainly looked the other way while the public prosecutor made the closing statement. “Ridiculous,” he said after the OM made its sentence demand.

Taghi is seen as the person who ordered the murders. He told R. and others who he wanted dead, and they would arrange shooters and spotters.

The OM already entered sentence demands against the other suspects in the Marengo case in the middle of last year, including life sentences for Taghi and four other suspects. At that time, the OM also discussed R.’s role extensively, which is why the explanation for the sentence demand against him took only 1.5 hours on Friday.

The case against R. is behind the rest partly because he was arrested in Colombia only after the criminal case had already started. He was arrested in Colombia in February 2020 and extradited to the Netherlands in December 2021. R. changing lawyers also delayed the process.

The lawyers representing the other suspects in the Marengo case have all completed their pleas. R.’s lawyers will likely have their turn in May. The court plans to rule in October.

The evidence in the Marengo case is based partly on intercepted messages about crimes from the suspects’ PGP phones. But that only came to light after key witness Nabil B. agreed to testify against several other suspects in exchange for a reduced sentence.

A week after the OM announced that Nabil B. had turned state evidence in March 2018, his brother was assassinated at his Amsterdam business. B.’s lawyer Derk Wiersum was murdered in 2019, and his confidant Peter R. de Vries in July 2021.

These murders are not officially part of Marengo but are considered inseparable from the case.

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