During the trial against nine Islamic terror suspects from Eindhoven, tapped conversations were played on Thursday. Opinions differ about what exactly can be heard on the recordings, but it is noticeable that the tone in many of the conversations is cheerful. There is a lot of laughter and the atmosphere is light-hearted.
The men (20 to 31) were arrested in September last year. They are suspected of planning a terrorist attack. They would have spoken about a bomb attack at chip company ASML in Veldhoven. They would also like to kill Geert Wilders, Mark Rutte and Thierry Baudet and sympathize with the terrorist group IS.
The lawyers for the nine indicated during previous sessions that their clients had only made ‘wrong jokes’ and discussed Islam with each other. Conversations with an expert revealed no ideological motive for terrorist actions.
‘Bin Laden of Europe’
Thirteen recordings were played during Thursday’s hearing. The conversations were recorded in a car and at suspects’ homes in the months before their arrest.
“ASML will break down, TU will break down, everyone”, they say, and they laugh. One of the suspects worked at ASML, others studied at the Technical University. According to the lawyers, that was about corona. In the same conversation it is about a ‘corona meeting’, one of the men would have had corona.
There is also talk of printing weapons with a 3D printer. “Broken,” one of the men calls the technical possibilities. “You can just download it, a printer costs eight barkies (800 euros).” In another recording, four weeks later, we hear someone say “I’m going to be Europe’s next Bin Laden, that’s who I want to be.”
But how seriously should we take this? The atmosphere during the conversations sounds cheerful and jovial. Something that does not come across in the written conversations, says the lawyer of one of the men. “These recordings sketch the atmosphere, the laughter.”
The comment about bin Laden would be a quote from someone else. “He just said that seriously, that’s the biggest joke of all,” it was said after this statement. Recordings that the Public Prosecution Service (OM) previously called an Islamic sermon are, according to the defense, a sketch by the well-known YouTuber ‘Borrelnootjez’: “You can just look him up, he is on YouTube“.
The Public Prosecution Service previously stated that the men were indeed deadly serious. They watched IS videos, talked about killing infidels and took shooting training in Bulgaria. During that training, one of them would have inquired specifically about shooting in an urban environment.
Nevertheless, the Public Prosecution Service argued in May for all nine men to wait for their case at home, but the judge did not want to hear about it.
The case continues on Tuesday. Thirteen court days have been set aside for the hearing in November, December and also in January next year.
Terror suspects: ‘We are victims of misunderstandings and wrong jokes’
Eindhoven terror suspects are allowed to go home for the time being