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Trial starts in Amsterdam of suspects accused in 2021 killing of crime reporter

Peter R de Vries was a popular Dutch reporter and television presenter (Peter Dejong/AP)
Peter R de Vries was a popular Dutch reporter and television presenter (Peter Dejong/AP)

The long-delayed trial of nine men accused of involvement in the fatal 2021 shooting on an Amsterdam street of prominent Dutch investigative reporter Peter R de Vries has opened.

Among the suspects is Delano G, who is accused of shooting De Vries in broad daylight on July 6 2021. Under Dutch privacy law, suspects are identified only by their first name and the first initial of their family name.

De Vries, a popular reporter and television presenter, died nine days later of his injuries, aged 64.

Masked and armed Dutch police guard a transport of some of the suspects who arrived at the high security court building where the trial opens in Amsterdam
Masked and armed Dutch police guarded some of the suspects as they were transported to the high security court building (Peter Dejong/AP)

The city centre attack sent shock waves through the Netherlands and triggered an outpouring of grief.

Dutch king Willem-Alexander called it “an attack on journalism, the cornerstone of our constitutional state and therefore also an attack on the rule of law”.

De Vries had been an adviser and confidant for a protected witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine”. Verdicts are expected next month in that case.

The trial opened in a packed, heavily guarded courtroom on the edge of Amsterdam, with armed police in body armour and ski masks patrolling the streets outside as cars carrying the suspects swept into the court’s underground car park.

Some of the defendants denied any involvement in the incident while others said they were asserting their right to remain silent.

Masked and armed Dutch police guard a transport of some of the suspects who arrived at the high security court building where the trial opened in Amsterdam
Police in body armour and ski masks patrolled the streets outside the court as cars carrying the suspects swept into the facility’s underground car park (Peter Dejong/AP)

The alleged gunman was arrested less than an hour after the attack, along with a Polish national identified as Kamil E who was the alleged getaway driver. Prosecutors told judges at Amsterdam District Court that the weapon used to shoot De Vries was found in their car.

The two suspects went on trial in 2022 and prosecutors demanded life sentences. But the court failed to deliver verdicts in the trial because prosecutors introduced new evidence late in the case, following a string of arrests.

The pair are now on trial along with seven other suspects arrested in the weeks and months after the killing, all accused of involvement in organising a hit on De Vries.

The trial is scheduled to run until the end of February. It is likely verdicts will be announced weeks later.