‘Efeze’ suspects to remain behind bars


PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance decided on Wednesday that the three suspects in the so-called Efeze investigation will remain in custody until their case is heard on December 7.

During Wednesday’s brief hearing, suspects V.A.R. (82) and I.F. (56) called upon the Judge for their pre-trial detention to be suspended pending the criminal proceedings. The Prosecutor objected to these requests.

The two suspects and their son R.R.R. (24) are all suspected of import, possession and selling of illegal firearms and marijuana, and of money laundering.

The two seniors, however, claim they did not have any knowledge of their son’s criminal acts, which were allegedly committed between January 2013 and March 17, 2016.

Prosecutor Danny Hazejager called for a postponement of the trial, because the case files are not yet complete. The results of ballistic investigations of the firearms that were found during house searches are still forthcoming from Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the Prosecutor stated, as well as a response from the authorities in the United States on the request for legal assistance in the investigation of suspects in the US.

Evidence from wiretapped telephone conversations between the defendants also needs to be added to the file, and the suspects still need to be confronted with the evidence, the Prosecutor explained.

Before a large audience in the public gallery, V.A.R. and I.F. begged the Judge for their release, proclaiming their innocence. “I cannot take it one more day. Release me and put me on house arrest,” V.A.R. said.

The Prosecutor objected to the release, stating the defendants are suspected of very serious crimes. Hazejager said it was “crystal clear” that all suspects in this case had been aware of the presence of firearms in their house. “During a search, weapons were found under a bed in V.A.R.’s apartment,” the Prosecutor said.

“In a wiretapped telephone conversation, V.A.R. informed R.R.R. that not all weapons had been found. The next day a new search was carried out during which more weapons were found,” he said.

According to the Prosecutor, the two senior suspects are not unfit for detention as they can receive any medical attention they might need. The Judge agreed and said the requests for release were insufficiently substantiated.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/60772-efeze-suspects-to-remain-behind-bars