THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The trial opened Monday of two men charged with murder in the killing of Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was gunned down in the center of Amsterdam, a brazen attack that sent shockwaves through the Netherlands.
Dutch police say the suspected gunman is a 21-year-old Dutch man. A 35-year-old Polish man is accused of being the getaway driver. They both were arrested shortly after De Vries was shot July 6 on an Amsterdam street after making one of his regular appearances on a Dutch television show. He died nine days later.
Monday’s preliminary hearing at Amsterdam District Court will not evaluate evidence in the case, but is expected to hear a summary of the investigation so far and possible requests for further investigations from the suspects’ lawyers.
Both suspects were present in court as Monday's hearing got underway.
The shooting sparked an outpouring of grief — thousands lined up outside an Amsterdam theater to pay their last respects days after his death — and condemnation in the Netherlands.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the shooting an “attack on a courageous journalist and also an attack on the free journalism that is so essential for our democracy, our constitutional state, our society.”
De Vries was the Netherlands’ most famous crime journalist, reporting on and writing a bestselling book about the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken and campaigning tirelessly to resolve cold cases and clear the names of wrongfully convicted people.
De Vries recently had been an adviser and confidant for a witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine.”
The suspected gangland leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2019. He remains jailed while standing trial along with 16 other suspects.