The suspected murderer of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh will be tried as a terrorist. The 26-year old Islamic radical appeared before a judge Friday, charged with six counts, including murder and participating in a criminal, terrorist-like organization.
The arraignment of the suspect, indentified only Mohammed B., a Dutch-Moroccan man, took place at a prison hospital. He is recovering from a gunshot wound sustained after his arrest earlier this week. Police believe he was the one who shot and slit Theo van Gogh's throat-leaving a letter impaled on his chest with a death threat to a Dutch politician and other so-called enemies of Islam.
In a controversial move, the Justice Department released the contents of the letter, which also threatened Amsterdam's Jewish mayor.
Mohammed B's lawyer says it will now be hard for his client-who refuses to speak to investigators--to get a fair trial. But some Dutch politicians say the letter shows the country is in the grip of a holy war and have vowed to crackdown on Islamic extremism. They want to expand the Dutch security service so it can monitor more extremists.
Officials are also considering stripping violent offenders with dual nationality of their Dutch passports. 20-year-old student Martina Bos says the whole affair is a worrying sign of the radicalization of a very small group of people. "Tuesday it was proven those people can do a lot of horrific things. They don't act out of respect. They just do things. And it's too horrific," she says.
Although many Dutch people, she adds, are dropping all signs of their famed tolerance, letting their fear of foreigners out into the open. The streets of Amsterdam remain calm, but police patrols have been added as the country deals with what is said to be it's first Islamic terrorist attack.
In the city of Utrecht, an overnight fire in a new mosque is being investigated as possible arson. Of the eight other suspects arrested this week in connection with Theo
van Gogh's murder, four have been released for lack of evidence, while four others have also been charged with participating in a criminal, terrorist-like group and for conspiring to murder Mr. van Gogh. Police say more arrests are likely.