In March of last year four people were shot and killed and six others wounded in a terrorist attack on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht. The gunman was eventually identified as a Turk named Gökmen Tanis.
The legal process in Mr. Tanis’ case began last July, but for reasons that are not clear to me the actual trial did not begin until recently.
Below is an account of the court proceedings, including the various shenanigans of the mischievous culture-enriching defendant.
Gökmen T. back in court after suspension for spitting on lawyer
Shooting: Terror suspect T. was compelled to attend the trial against him. In an earlier hearing, he resisted so strongly that that in the end, he was not present.
Gökmen T., the man who has confessed to having shot dead four people in a tram in Utrecht and wounding six others, was temporarily removed from the court on Monday afternoon after he spat on his own lawyer. The court decided to bring him back when it became clear that the victims and relatives wanted him to be present while they describe their grief.
Earlier in the day T. had raised his middle finger to the court and refused to answer questions from the chief judge. He sat handcuffed and grimacing between five policemen. The spitting incident happened after T.’s lawyer ask the chief judge of the court to speak more slowly and “to discuss the matters at the level of my client”. The chief judge then had T. removed “because the lower level was reached”.
T. was assigned the lawyer in December after he had earlier refused. He thought that he could defend himself, but the court considered him to be incapable. He was also was compelled to attend the proceedings. At a pro-forma hearing in December, he resisted so strongly that he was in the end absent. According to the chief judge of the courtroom, too much violence and force would be needed to get him to the courtroom.
From a video reconstruction that the police made, it was shown on Monday that T. shot several passengers from close range during the attack. And he also shot at stationary motorists at the intersection at October 24 Square. He shot a motorist through a windshield, who later died of his wounds. From the reconstruction it was revealed that during his flight T. shot out of the window of the car. Here no one was injured. At the showing of the very moving video reconstruction of the shooting incident, Gökmen T. looked straight ahead stoically.
On 18 March 2019, 17 passengers were sitting in the tram. T. is charged with murder and manslaughter of several persons with a terrorist purpose and with terroristic threats. Four hearing days are set aside for the case.
* Correction (2 March 2020): In an earlier version of this article it was stated that four persons sustained wounds. That is not the case, because six people were wounded. This has since been corrected.