French, Dutch arrest two men over Van Gogh murder

PARIS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – French and Dutch police have arrested two Chechen men in connection with the murder of a Dutch filmmaker critical of Islam, Dutch prosecutors said on Thursday.

Bislan Ismailov, who was arrested in France on May 18, would be transferred to the Netherlands from France in June to be charged in connection with the murder of Theo van Gogh, a spokesman for Amsterdam prosecutors said.

“We have found his fingerprints on a farewell letter that (Van Gogh’s suspected killer) Mohammed B. wrote to his parents,” the spokesman said, adding the arrest had been made on the request of Dutch authorities. He refused to give other details.

Dutch news agency ANP said the letter was found in a house in Amsterdam, where the suspected killer’s father and sister lived.

Dutch police arrested another Chechen man in Amsterdam in April after finding his fingerprints on a tape in Mohammed B.’s apartment, prosecutors said later on Thursday.

ANP said he was 22-year-old Marat J. from Grozny.

A French judicial source said the 25-year-old Ismailov, a Russian of Chechen origin, was arrested near the town of Tours in central France.

Dutch authorities have charged Dutch-Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri with the murder of Van Gogh, who was gunned down as he cycled to work in Amsterdam on November 2. Van Gogh is a descendant of the brother of 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

Dutch prosecutors have said Bouyeri, whose trial is set to start in July, probably had accomplices.

Twelve members of a suspected group of Islamic militants were detained in the Netherlands after Van Gogh’s murder. One of them has since been released, but charges against him remain.

All men are charged with belonging to a criminal group, conspiring to murder and threatening to kill prominent politicians critical of Islam.

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Reuters, USA
May 26, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday May 27, 2005.
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