This is the highest security prison in the Netherlands where drug lord Ridouan Taghi may spend the rest of his days | Abroad

Drug lord Ridouan Taghi (46) was today sentenced to life in prison at the Dutch Marengo trial surrounding six underworld murders, four failed murder attempts and the preparation of another four liquidations. He may spend the rest of his life in the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught, the highest security prison in the Netherlands. It certainly won’t be a holiday. The Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee (CPT) called the prison regime there “excessively restrictive” in a report last year.

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The Extra Secure Facility (EBI) in Vught is unique in the Netherlands. It is the only prison with the highest level of security. Never since it opened in 1997 has anyone been able to escape. The complex is extra walled and built in such a way that there is an optimal view. The ventilation areas have bars at the top, so that a helicopter cannot pick up anyone or throw weapons down.

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Ridouan Taghi has been in a separate department since last year, which, according to his lawyers, was built especially for him. The wing consists of a single cell that is off limits via a corridor of one and a half meters long with a small recreation room. Taghi describes his personal department as “two modified storage lockers”, according to his lawyer on the crime website ‘Crimesite’.

“When transferring from one space to another – that is, one and a half meters and a bit – our client must be handcuffed. He is also handcuffed for all other movements outside his cell,” one of his counselors added in the Dutch newspaper ‘Het Parool’.


Taghi has no contact with other detainees. He is also not allowed to call his mother or his minor children. When his two sisters call or come to visit, they listen in and make a recording. There is also always an interpreter and a prison guard present. Everything happens behind glass.

Taghi’s lawyers have already complained about their client’s living conditions several times. According to them, these are aimed at causing him “as much suffering as possible”.


In December last year it was said that Taghi had been out in the cold for months. “The outside air that is brought in through the mechanical ventilation is not heated or hardly heated at all,” says one of his advisors at the regional ‘Omroep Brabant’. “As a result, the temperature in his cell is comparable to the outside temperature. At the moment he is forced to wear a more or less winter sports outfit. He sleeps with several layers of clothing, in a jacket with a hood, with a hat on his head and his socks and shoes on.”

An impression of Ridouan Taghi from 2020.
An impression of Ridouan Taghi from 2020. © ANP

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) last year called the Extra Security Facility “excessively restrictive”. “For example, the routine handcuffing of individuals held in these units cannot be justified,” it said. “Efforts must be made to improve the regime and provide sufficient meaningful, human contact to prevent detention conditions from resembling de facto solitary confinement.”

A life sentence is the most severe punishment in the Netherlands. Prisoners who were sentenced to life in prison can only be pardoned after 28 years. One of the conditions is that it must be safe to release the person in question back into society.

Dutch drug lord Ridouan Taghi sentenced to life in prison

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