Police detain eighth suspect in connection with Dutch filmmaker's murder

Saturday, November 6th 2004, 11:52 am
By: News On 6

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Police have detained an eighth suspect in the slaying of a Dutch filmmaker, allegedly by a group accused of threatening to kill several Dutch politicians in the name of Islam, prosecutors said Saturday.

The 23-year-old suspect, who was not named in a statement issued by Amsterdam prosecutors, was detained Friday. It was not clear if he was a Dutch citizen, but the statement specified that he was ``of Moroccan origin.''

The suspects' ethnicity has become an issue because the government announced plans to revoke the Dutch citizenship of dual citizens suspected of terrorism.

Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed Tuesday in Amsterdam. A letter pinned to his body also threatened death to lawmaker Aayan Hirsi Ali, who worked with Van Gogh on a movie criticizing the treatment of women under Islam.

Seven other suspects were arraigned Friday on charges of murder, membership in a terrorist organization and conspiring to murder. Most of their nationalities were not immediately clear. Authorities said only that six were of Moroccan ancestry, one is Algerian and the last has Spanish-Moroccan nationality.

The chief suspect, a 26-year-old with dual Dutch-Moroccan citizenship identified only as Mohammed B., remained in custody. He has declined to cooperate with authorities.

Two other suspects held in the case were released Friday. One was handed over to immigration authorities. Prosecutors have appealed the release.

Investigators also raided a residence and confiscated computers and video cassettes, the statement said.

Meanwhile, members of the Netherlands' Moroccan community held a rally in The Hague to promote peace and reconciliation.

Also, national police detained two suspects for threatening the life of another member of Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, a right-wing politician who recently broke with his mainstream party to establish a hard-line anti-immigration party. Wilders opposed his former party's support of Turkey opening EU membership talks.

Also Friday, a 27-year-old man was arrested in the northern Dutch city of Groningen for making a bomb threat that led to searches of the U.S. embassy in The Hague Friday night. Hague police spokesman Frans Rijnswou said no explosives were found.