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NETHERLANDS: Assassination of the Dutch lawyer Derk Wiersum


The International Observatory of Endangered Lawyers (OIAD) is deeply shocked after the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum this Wednesday, 18 September, who was defending a key witness in a trial against the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal in a major drug case.

Derk Wiersum, a 44-year-old father of two, was shot dead on a street in Amsterdam shortly after leaving his home around 7.30 am. The assailant, a young man aged 16 to 20, fled on foot. Police are still searching for him and have appealed for witnesses. Mr. Wiersum was the lawyer for a “Crown witness”, the repentant Nabil B., in a wide-ranging case involving two men from Morocco, Ridouan Taghi and Said Razzouki, described as the most wanted criminals in the Netherlands. International arrest warrants have been issued against them for murder and drug trafficking. The murder of Derk Wiersum comes a year after Nabil B.’s brother was murdered, as a retaliation.

The OIAD would want to extend its deepest condolences to Derk Wiersum’s family and to the Bar of the Netherlands.

The OIAD calls on the Dutch authorities to strengthen the security of lawyers working on sensitive cases in accordance with the Basic Principles regarding the Role of the Bar, adopted by the United Nations in Havana in 1990 which include in particular:

“When the safety of lawyers is threatened in the performance of their duties, they must be properly protected by the authorities.”  Principle 17.

The Observatory calls on the Dutch authorities to do everything possible to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this horrific murder.