The murder of a lawyer, who represented a key witness in a major Dutch organized crime trial, has sparked outrage and cries for a tougher crackdown on underworld gangs.
Police said 44-year-old lawyer Derk Wiersum was fatally shot in a suburb on the edge of the Dutch capital. Police are looking for a hoodie-wearing attacker who escaped on foot. Witnesses placed the gunman’s age at between 16 and 20.
Wiersum was representing a witness known only as Nabil B. in a criminal case against suspected underworld bosses accused of being involved in a string of killings. The witness was involved in one of the killings but cut a deal with prosecutors to present evidence in return for a fewer sentence.
National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said in a statement that as a society it is unacceptable.
He also added, “This and other kinds of severe violence show that a deep and permanent approach is required to tackle the issue of organized crime.”
Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema visited the scene of the shooting and called it shocking.
Wiersum was not the first person to be killed who was linked to the trial of fugitive suspected crime bosses. The brother of witness B. was also murdered last year.
The two main suspects in the underworld hits are Ridouan Taghi and Saïd Razzouki, both fugitives on Dutch police’s most-wanted list.
The Dutch authorities have offered the highest ever reward for anyone who helps in their arrest. There is a 100,000-euro ($110,000) remunerate accessible for a tip that prompts their capture, Justice and Security Minister Ferd Grapperhaus educated that he has set up a group of police and investigators, led by the country’s counter-terrorism adviser, to raise security around people operating within the legal system.
Grapperhaus was quoted as saying, “This is an attack on our constitutional state.”