Year after the murder of Derk Wiersum: minutes silence and flags at half mast

The legal profession is today dwelling on the murder of Mr Derk Wiersum, exactly one year ago. A minute‘s silence was held at 12 noon and the flag is flying at half mast in many offices.

Lawyer Derk Wiersum (44) was shot dead at his house in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert last year. He assisted Crown witness Nabil B. in the large liquidation case Marengo. Minister Grapperhaus and many with him called the murder an attack on the rule of law.

Fellow lawyers call for the flag to be hung at half-mast

The action received a lot of response, which can be read on the site Advocatenblad (Lawyers’ magazine). Many lawyers in the Netherlands are thinking about it today, says one of the initiators. It is a visible and dignified gesture

The Chief Public Prosecutor in Amsterdam had called for a minute’s silence, as a tribute to the counsel.

After the attack a year ago, many lawyers felt more insecure. A number of lawyers, prosecutors and judges were given protection just to be on the safe side. Major trials involving liquidations, such as the Marengo trial, were surrounded by heavy surveillance after the murder.

Do not give up

In the TV programme De Vooravond, criminal lawyer Bart Swier talked about the impact of the murder of Derk Wiersum. I never thought: I‘m quitting. On the contrary, you shouldn’t let them win, you have to keep going. If Derk had wanted something, it would have been for lawyers to assist suspects, including the key witnesses. Don‘t give up, never.

I have two children, says Swier. I will therefore not assist the key witnesses, given my private situation. I think this applies to a lot of lawyers. He agrees that this is a sad observation when it comes to the difficult conditions under which lawyers, prosecutors and judges have to do their work.

Criminal lawyer Bart Swier in De Vooravond:

Wiersum assisted another lawyer, Nabil B.. The Marengo trial revolves around the criminal organisation around Ridouan Taghi, which is associated with liquidations and several attempts to do so. Taghi was possibly the commissioner of the murder of Wiersum and the brother of key witness Nabil B., but there is no formal suspicion. Taghi was arrested in Dubai in December last year and has since been detained for other cases.

Nabil B.’s brother was shot dead in Amsterdam-North in March 2018, a week after the Public Prosecution Service had announced that B. had become a key witness.

The murderer of B.’s brother has now been convicted. For the murder of Wiersum, the judiciary has arrested three suspects, including a distant cousin of Taghi. These three will be in court on Monday at Schiphol Airport, at an interim hearing.