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‘Rule of law under attack’ as Dutch lawyer murdered
Arrested Lawyers group expresses its shock on Twitter

19 Sep 2019 / global Print

'Rule of law under attack’ as Dutch lawyer murdered

The CCBE has expressed its shock over the murder of Dutch defence lawyer Derk Wiersum.

The lawyer was representing a state witness in a huge gangland case and was shot dead in broad daylight in Amsterdam yesterday morning.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the killing was “incredibly disturbing”.

The killing raises fresh fears that the Netherlands is turning into a “narco-state”.

Gunned down

Derk Wiersum, a 44-year-old father of two, was gunned down in the street shortly after leaving his house in Amsterdam. Police are hunting a hoodie-wearing assailant who fled on foot.

Wiersum was the lawyer for a state witness named Nabil B. in a huge case against two Moroccan-born men dubbed the most wanted criminals in the Netherlands.

“This is very alarming news. The police and the public prosecutor are investigating,” the Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

International arrest warrants for murder and drug trafficking have been issued on the two suspects, Ridouan Taghi and Said Razzouki.

Better security

The killing comes a year after Nabil B’s own brother was shot dead, raising questions about why Wiersum was not provided with better security.

One of Wiersum’s two children was in the house when the shooting happened.

“This is unprecedented,” crime reporter Peter de Vries said on radio.

Amsterdam has had a liberal approach to cannabis use for decades but now has a major problem with drug-related crime.

A Dutch police union spokesman said that the shooting showed the situation in the Netherlands was getting out of control.


“This is a confirmation that we live in a narco-state”, says Jan Struijs of the NPB police union. “It is an attack on the rule of law.”

In 2018 the union said that politicians were underestimating the rampant crime, corruption, threats and money-laundering in the country.

Fundamental freedoms

“The murder of lawyers while exercising their professional duties is an unacceptable attack on the legal profession which role is essential to guarantee access to justice and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all citizens – particularly through the protection of the rights of the defence and the guarantees of a fair trial,” the CCBE said in a statement.

“Attacks against lawyers are attacks against the rule of law,” it said.

The CCBE has said that it will continue to fight for the right of all lawyers to perform their professional duties without fear of reprisal, hindrance, intimidation or harassment, in order to preserve the independence and integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law.

The CCBE represents the Bars and Law Societies of 45 countries, and through them over one million European lawyers.



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