Life in jail for brutal killer of Dutch film-maker Van Gogh

Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-born Muslim of Moroccan descent, was convicted of shooting Mr Van Gogh seven times, then trying to decapitate him as he cycled to work in Amsterdam last November.

The murder caused revulsion in the Netherlands and prompted a series of attacks on mosques in several cities. It also hardened the tough, anti-immigration line taken by the centre-right Dutch government.

Yesterday, Judge Udo Willem Bentinck said Bouyeri had shown no remorse for a murder with "terrorist intent", convicting him under a law introduced in August last year.

The judge told a packed, heavily guarded hearing of Amsterdam District Court that the victim had beenn "mercilessly slaughtered" in a crime which was designed to undermine democracy in the Netherlands. The attack had, he said, "prompted great feelings of fear and insecurity in society".

Dressed in a grey robe and black and white headscarf, the defendant, 27, was impassive as the judgment was read out. He was forced to attend the hearing after he had refused to be there voluntarily.

The conviction and life sentence was no surprise since Bouyeri had admitted the attack annd it was witnessed by several people, one of whom took a photo of the assailant. He was arrested after a shoot-out with police.

The court also found Bouyeri guilty of the attempted murder of eight police officers and two bystanders, illegal possession of weapons and munitions, and of threatening Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch politician.

She had collaborated with Mr Van Gogh over a film called Submission which portrayed Islam as a misogynous religion which condoned violence against women. Ms Hirsi Ali's life was threatened in a note pinned to Mr Van Gogh's body with a knife, and she was forced into hiding for several months.

But the judges decided Bouyeri had acted alone rather than being part of a wider conspiracy.

The verdict ends one of the most high-profile murder cases in the Netherlands in recent years during which the accused refused to offer a defence, claiming he did not accept the authority of the court.

During the trial the prosecutor displayed photographs of the weapons used by Bouyeri: a gun, a machete-like weapon used to try to cut through Mr Van Gogh's neck, and a filleting knife that pinned the letter threatening Ms Hirsi Ali to the victim's stomach.

Bouyeri showed no sign of remorse, saying he would do the same again given the opportunity. On 12 July he told the court: "I should cut everyone's head off who insults Allah or his prophet."

As Bouyeri headed for a lifetime behind bars, Hans Janssen, an expert on Islam from the University of Utrecht warned that the convicted man would try to convert fellow prisoners to his "radical, violent form of Islam." Mr Janssen told Radio Netherlands: "Recruitment is going on in prisons, not only in this country, but in most countries that have prisoners who have been sentenced for Islamic terrorist activity. Usually, the prison authorities and the secret services try to find out what is going on, but I'm sure they miss a lot."

Under Dutch law Bouyeri will not qualify for parole unless granted early release by the Dutch monarch, who would take guidance from the trial judge and justice minister.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Déjà vu: David Tennant returns to familiar territory with Anna Gunn (‘Breaking Bad’)
tvReview: Something is missing in Gracepoint, and it's not just the familiar names
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?