Bouyeri, 27, who had confessed to the Nov. 2, 2004, killing, told his Amsterdam trial court on July 12, “I should cut everyone’s head off who insults Allah or his prophet.” He was forced to attend court today, after refusing to be there voluntarily, to hear Judge Udo Willem Bentinck pass sentence.
Van Gogh got death threats after making a movie critical of Islam. His murder by Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan national, stoked tensions in the Netherlands, which counts 900,000 Muslims among its population of 16 million. At least 10 mosques and Islamic schools were desecrated or damaged by arson in following weeks.
Bentinck formally found Bouyeri guilty of the murder, as well as of attempted murder of 10 people, including eight police officers. Bouyeri had a shootout with police before his arrest. Van Gogh, 47, was stabbed to death near an Amsterdam park. The court said the crimes were aggravated by intention to terrorize.
At the trial’s start, on Jan. 26, Bouyeri’s lawyer, Peter Plasman, said his client took full responsibility for the killing. Bouyeri refused to mount a defense.
Psychologist Jacob Oudejans testified during the trial that Boyeri was fully responsible for his actions.
Van Gogh’s 10-minute film “Submission” was the one that led to the death threats. The movie features images of a Muslim woman wearing a transparent veil. Koranic texts describing punishments for “disobedient women” are written on her body.
Van Gogh’s earlier films include Blind Date, which won the Dutch Golden Calf movie award in 1996 for directing, and Cool!, a film released last year, which featured Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm playing a bank manager.