A key state witness in the trial of Dutch gangster and Kinahan cartel ally, Ridouan Taghi, refused to testify in court, fearing that enough was not being done to protect his family.
abil Bakkali did not show up this week in Amsterdam’s highest security courtroom, De Bunker, where Taghi and his associates are the defendants in what has been dubbed the Marengo trial.
The prosecutor’s star witness said previous agreements had not been honored for his safety and that of his family.
The former gang member was a key witness in the investigation and provided several statements to the police about the functioning of the Dutch-Moroccan drug trafficking gang.
But the lawsuit has been called into question by Bakkali’s dramatic decision this week, although his lawyer said authorities were given notice well in advance to sort out protection concerns.
The decision was announced by lawyer Onno de Jong during a hearing at Amsterdam District Court on Wednesday.
De Jong said the situation between the prosecutor and his client had been “very serious” for a long time.
He accused the prosecutor of failing to keep his promise to ensure the safety of Bakkali and his family.
âThe prosecution has failed at all levels,â De Jong said. “The client has been very clear: so far and no further. Let the prosecution come to the table to resolve the issues.”
“The problems our client has in discussions with the prosecution over the safety of him and his family are so serious that he does not consider it responsible for continuing on this path.”
The statements he has already provided to the investigation can still be used in court.
Bakkali was scheduled to testify on Wednesday in the case concerning the murder of Ronald Bakker, an employee of a spy store in 2015.
Nabil Bakkali’s identity was revealed against his will in March 2018 and a week later his brother Reduan was assassinated.
He also accused authorities of a scam when his photo was accidentally posted and threats were made to him while he was in police custody.
Then, in September 2019, his then lawyer Derk Wiersum was shot dead outside his home as he left for work.
Taghi had been a fugitive from the Dutch authorities for years until his arrest in late 2019 in Dubai, where he had previously been invited to Daniel Kinahan’s wedding at the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel in 2017.
At one point in the investigation, police nearly arrested Kinahan thinking he was Taghi when he went to meet the Dutchman’s lawyers at a hotel in Dubai.
Taghi and 16 of his gang members face charges related to seven murders, including that of another lawyer.
He had operated successfully in the shadows and was unknown to police until a cache of weapons was discovered in 2015.
The success of Canadian cops in hacking the Ennetcom encrypted messaging system has also provided international law enforcement with vital intelligence on the gang’s operations.
At that time, Taghi was closely linked to the Kinahan Cartel on the Costa del Sol and one of his main lieutenants, Naoufal Fassih, was later discovered in a safe house in Dublin.
His Chilean business partner, Richard Eduardo Riquelme Vega, known as âEl Ricoâ, plotted to get Fassih out of Portlaoise prison.
Known as Mr. Cous-Cous, Fassih was extradited to the Netherlands where he is currently serving a 16-year sentence.
Hundreds of pages of documents relating to Taghi’s arrest in Dubai, which was part of the investigation, will not be opened during the trial after a legal dispute.
The trial centers on a series of murders that began in 2012 and in 2014 saw the murder of rival gang leader Gwenette Martha.
Months later, Samir “Scarface” Bouyakhhrichan was shot dead on the Spanish Costa with Naoufal Fassih by his side.
His assassination allowed Taghi to take control of operations.
As the killings continued in Amsterdam, a police surveillance operation led to the seizure of a weapons cache of 86 firearms and nine hand grenades,
Former gang member Nabil Bakkali took the opportunity to become a state witness, sparking a manhunt against Taghi that only ended with his arrest in Dubai.
Last Friday, the court heard testimony regarding the murder of Appie Belhadj (29) in 2016 who was shot dead in an Amsterdam apartment.
Belhadj had been lured into the apartment that night with a promise that there would be three available women with whom he could have sex. A man is already serving an 18-year sentence for his role in the murder.
Belhadj had been blamed by Taghi for passing information on to the police, according to text messages from the Ennetcom service.
Last Thursday, testimony was heard regarding two people who provided Ennetcom phones to gang members in Holland and who are also facing prosecution.