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Dutch terror suspects on trial for plotting attacks against politicians

[JURIST] The trial of six suspected Islamic militants accused of planning an attack against Dutch politicians began Monday in the Netherlands. The defendants include twenty-year-old Samir Azzouz [Wikipedia profile], whose previous acquittal sparked intense criticism of Dutch anti-terrorism laws. Azzouz has been arrested three times in the Netherlands [JURIST news archive] and was acquitted last year of participating in a terrorist conspiracy [JURIST report]. A search of his home uncovered bomb-making materials, a nuclear reactor, and maps of the Dutch Parliament [official website], but the court ruled that although he had a "terrorist intent," his activities were not in the stages of posing a real threat. After his acquittal and a public outcry, Dutch legislators adopted more stringent anti-terror measures [JURIST report] prohibiting membership in terrorist organizations and recruiting for such groups.

In October 2005, Azzouz was rearrested after increased surveillance by Dutch security officials who suspected Azzouz and his co-defendants of plotting a new attack on the headquarters of the AIVD Dutch security forces [official website]. Prosecutors outlined new evidence against Azzouz before the court Monday, including a suicide-bomber video that he recorded, possession of automatic weapons and ammunition, and jihad training materials. Police also uncovered a list of home addresses for Dutch politicians [AP report], including Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende [official website]. A verdict against the six men is expected next month. Reuters has more.

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