A Dutch-Moroccan man has confessed in court to murdering a film-maker critical of Islam, breaking his silence in a case that has stoked religious and racial tension in the Netherlands.
He is charged with shooting and stabbing Van Gogh before cutting his throat and leaving a note pinned to his body with a knife.
“I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted,” the 27-year-old told Amsterdam District Court.
“I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion.
“I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same.”
Bouyeri, who has shown no emotion throughout the trial and refused to speak, told the court he felt he owed Van Gogh’s mother, Anneke, some explanation.
“I have to admit I do not feel for you, I do not feel your pain, I cannot – I don’t know what it is like to lose a child,” he said.
“I cannot feel for you… because I believe you are a nonbeliever.
“I acted out of conviction, not because I hated your son.”
They allege he murdered Van Gogh to spread terror in the Netherlands.
Prosecutors have asked that Bouyeri be sent to prison for life – a sentence that affords no chance of parole.
Beyond that, they are demanding that Bouyeri be stripped of his right to vote or stand for election for the rest of his life, “to literally place him outside of our democracy”.
Van Gogh, a descendent of the brother of the 19th Century Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, was known for his outspoken criticism of Islam.
He angered many Muslims by making a film that accused Islam of condoning violence against women.
Bouyeri also faces other charges, including the attempted murder of police officers and illegal possession of weapons.
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