Dutch Court Hands Down 26-Year Sentence for Train Station Attack

Dutch police officers near the scene of a stabbing attack at Central Station in Amsterdam on Aug. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Furtula)

AMSTERDAM (CN) – A Dutch court on Monday sentenced an Afghan asylum seeker to more than 26 years in prison for stabbing two American tourists at an Amsterdam train station last year.

“He came to the Netherlands to kill as many people as possible,” the presiding judge, Eli Gabel, said in a prepared statement.

The 20-year-old perpetrator, identified by authorities as Jawed S., was not present when the ruling was delivered Monday. The Dutch government doesn’t release the full names of people charged with crimes.

In August 2018, Jawed S. stabbed two American tourists in the Dutch capital city after traveling from Germany, where he had exhausted his asylum claims. He chose Amsterdam because he wanted to get revenge for a cartoon competition promoted by the Dutch far-right-wing politician Geert Wilders. Wilders was encouraging people to draw pictures of the Prophet Muhammad, which some Muslims considered offensive.

The prosecution had asked for 25 years at a sentencing hearing in September.

“This horrific attack has had a huge impact. It is precisely the arbitrariness of the victims that is frightening,” prosecutor Hetty Hoekstra said at the time.

Judge Vogel went above the prosecution’s request and sentenced the defendant to 26 years and eight months in prison.

Jawed S. was born in Afghanistan and had traveled to Germany when he was 16 to seek asylum. He told the court during the trial that he “wanted to take revenge on as many people as possible.”

Both of his victims were 38-year-old American tourists who were traveling to Europe for the first time for a wedding. The two men were together with their wives when Jawed S. struck. All four of them originally from Eritrea and were themselves granted asylum in the U.S.

One of the men was treated for minor injuries at an Amsterdam hospital. The other victim was stabbed in the back and now suffers from paraplegia. He will likely never walk again.

Jawed S. was first spotted by police officers posted at the city’s main train stations, who thought he was acting suspiciously. When they approached him, he stabbed the two men, who were at an information kiosk with their backs to their attacker.

The incident was over in nine seconds, and ended with police shooting Jawed S. He was convicted of two counts of attempted murder with a terrorist motive and three charges of threatening police officers earlier this year.

On top of his prison sentence, Jawed S. will have to pay one victim 2.6 million euros, or about $2.9 million, and the second victim 38,000 euros, or $41,890.

Through their lawyer, the victims said they were happy with the result and hope that the defendant doesn’t appeal.

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