Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Dutch Filmmaker's Killer Gets Life Sentence - Yahoo! News

Dutch Filmmaker's Killer Gets Life Sentence - Yahoo! News

Dutch Filmmaker's Killer Gets Life Sentence

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 43 minutes ago

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch court sentenced the killer of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh to life in prison Tuesday, the harshest sentence possible for a murder that heightened ethnic tensions and raised concerns about homegrown Islamic terrorism.

Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, had mounted no defense at his two-day trial earlier this month for the Nov. 2 slaying of Van Gogh, whom he accused of insulting Islam, and told the court he would do it again if given the chance.

Presiding judge Udo Willem Bentinck said life in prison was the only fitting punishment for a crime that sought to undermine Dutch democracy and the political system. He said the three-judge panel had concluded there was no possibility for Bouyeri to return to society, citing his lack of remorse.

Bouyeri, wearing a black and white checkered headscarf, showed no emotion as he shook his lawyer's hand following the verdict. He had earlier told the court he had intended to die in the action and become a martyr for his faith.

Bouyeri has two weeks if he wants to lodge an appeal, but that appeared unlikely.

He was convicted of the murder, described in the judgment as a terrorist attack, the attempted murder of bystanders and police officers, illegal possession of firearms and of impeding the work of a member of parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom he had threatened to kill in a letter impaled in Van Gogh's chest.

The judgment said Bouyeri had shown "a complete disregard for human life." Van Gogh was "butchered mercilessly," it said, and it was "a miracle that only two bystanders were hit by stray bullets."

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