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Pre-Trial Hearing Opens for Suspect in Killing of Dutch Filmmaker

An Amsterdam court has opened pre-trial hearings into the case of a Dutch-Moroccan man suspected in last year's murder of prominent filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

The accused, Mohammed Bouyeri, was not present in court for the hearing.

Prosecutors say he shot the filmmaker several times last November while he was bicycling to work in Amsterdam, stabbed him, then left a letter pinned to his body with a knife. They believe the attack was a response to the filmmaker's criticism of Islam and its treatment of women.

The defendant is also charged with attempted murder, terrorism and threatening a politician. Some of the charges involve the accused's threats against Somali-born Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali who wrote the script for Mr. van Gogh's film.

The van Gogh murder sparked sectarian attacks against mosques, religious schools and churches in the Netherlands.

Some information for this report provided by APF and Reuters.