- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 12, 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Muslim extremist on trial in the slaying of filmmaker Theo van Gogh admitted his guilt in court yesterday, declaring he acted out of religious conviction and would do it again if given the chance.

Mohammed Bouyeri also turned to Mr. van Gogh’s mother, Anneke, in court and told her: “I don’t feel your pain.

“I can’t feel for you because I think you’re a nonbeliever,” he said.

Bouyeri, 27, faces life imprisonment in the Nov. 2 killing of Mr. van Gogh, who was found shot and stabbed. He has not mounted a defense.

“I did it out of conviction,” Bouyeri said. “If I ever get free, I would do it again.”

He glanced at notes, paused between sentences and chose his words carefully. Some spectators rose to their feet as he spoke, stunned by his comments.

“I shot to kill and to be killed. You cannot understand,” he said, addressing police officers in the public gallery whom he targeted with gunfire eight months ago.

Bouyeri’s remarks came after prosecutors rested their case in the trial, which began Monday. The prosecutors demanded the maximum sentence because the crime was intended to shock the nation.

Dutch court cases usually run longer, but because no defense was mounted in this case, a verdict is expected July 26.

Mr. van Gogh was a prominent critic of Muslim fundamentalism. Pinned to his corpse with a knife was a five-page note filled with religious ramblings and threats of further attacks.

The killing led to a wave of retaliatory attacks on mosques and churches in a country once renowned for its peace and tolerance.

Lead prosecutor Frits van Straelen said Bouyeri has no intention of rehabilitation and would kill again unless he is locked up for life.

“The accused preaches a message of hate and violence,” he said. “He preaches that anyone who thinks differently can be killed. … He is and remains a danger to our society.”

Bouyeri declined to answer questions from judges Monday, apparently because of a religious-based contempt for the court. At one point, he cited an Islamic prayer in response to questions from judges.

“It is cowardly to remain silent,” Mr. van Straelen said. Bouyeri did not respond.

Bouyeri was arrested by police after a shootout while holding the gun prosecutors say was used in the slaying. Prosecutors say witnesses, blood spatters, ballistics and DNA analysis have tied him to the crime.

Bouyeri, purportedly a member of a terrorist cell known as the Hofstad Network, is said to have attended private prayer sessions with a Syrian spiritual leader Redouan al-Issar, who disappeared shortly before the van Gogh killing.

Mr. van Gogh, a distant relative of the artist Vincent van Gogh, apparently was targeted because he offended many Muslims with his 2004 short film “Submission,” which told fictional stories of Muslim women who were sexually and physically abused.

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