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Dutch high court orders retrial of suspected 'Hofstad' terrorists

[JURIST] The Dutch Supreme Court [official website, in Dutch] on Tuesday reversed [press release, in Dutch] the 2008 acquittals of seven men charged with belonging to a terrorist network, ordering a new trial. The seven men, suspected of belonging to the Dutch Muslim Hofstad Network terrorist group, were originally convicted of planning attacks on Dutch politicians and were connected to the November 2004 murder [JURIST report] of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh [Independent obituary], but their convictions were later overturned [JURIST report]. According to the Supreme Court, The Hague Appeals Court failed to classify the Hofstad Network as a terrorist organization because it used too stringent a definition when assessing the existence of a criminal or terrorist organization. Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower court's claim that terrorist offenses exist only when directed against vulnerable minority groups was not supported by law. The cases have been remanded back to the Amsterdam court.

The Hofstad Network included Muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri [BBC profile], who confessed [BBC report] to the November 2004 murder of van Gogh. Bouyeri, who was sentenced to life in prison [JURIST report], said he killed van Gogh in response to his film, "Submission" [BBC report], which criticized the treatment of women under Islam.

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