Dutch tram terrorist Gokmen Tanis sentenced to life in prison for the gun rampage in Utrecht
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Affected Countries: netherlands;
A terrorist who shot four people dead in a gun attack on a Dutch tram a year ago this week has been sentenced to life in prison.
Gokmen Tanis, 38, was jailed Friday after being found guilty of murder with a terrorist motive over an attack on a tram near Utrech central station on March 18.
Judge Ruud van Veldhuisen condemned the ‘cold-blooded’ attack, but Tanis was not in court to hear his remarks after being kept away due to precautions around spreading coronavirus.
Tanis had routinely disrupted proceedings, including spitting at his own defence lawyer on the opening day.
Tanis carried out his attack by shooting people from close range with a silenced pistol on a tram in the Dutch city around 10.45am.
One victim, a 19-year-old woman, was shot while talking on the phone with her boss. Another was shot as she leaped from the tram, Dutch News reported.
Tanis then got off the tram and shot another person sitting behind the wheel of a car before fleeing.
Several people reported hearing Tanis shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he fired the shots, while he also left behind a note in a stolen car which said ‘I’m doing this for my belief. You are killing Muslims.
‘You want to take our belief away from us, but it won’t work.’
Five people were injured in total, four of whom later died of their wounds.
Police reviewing CCTV footage recognised Tanis due to his lengthy criminal record including theft and violent offences.
His family described him as a ‘part-time Muslim’ who sometimes observed daily routines including prayer, but other times gambled and drank.
Tanis admitted to prosecutors that he had carried out the attack and was acting alone, but was scheduled for trial to decide whether the charge should be murder or manslaughter based on diminished responsibility.
The trial began on March 2 and was suspended a short time later when Tanis was removed from court for spitting at his own lawyer.
He also raised his middle finger at judges while refusing to answer questions.
The court heard that he had a personality disorder and reduced mental capacity.
But the judge swept those arguments aside and instead sentenced him to life.
Coronavirus prevention measures in place in many European countries are trying to limit spread of the disease by reducing human contact.
Those include limiting the amount of time that police and prison officials interact with inmates and members of the public by using video conferencing, and reducing the number of call-outs that police respond to.
The continent is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with more deaths reported in Italy alone than in the whole of China during the initial outbreak.
Source: Daily Mail