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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 18:26 GMT
Van Gogh death described to court
Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh
Theo Van Gogh directed TV series and wrote newspaper columns
A Dutch court has heard graphic detail of the killing of film-maker Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street last year.

In a pre-trial hearing, a prosecutor alleged that Mohammed Bouyeri had calmly shot Mr Van Gogh as he cycled to work and then cut his throat.

Mr Bouyeri, who was not in court on Wednesday, then pinned a letter to Mr Van Gogh's chest with the knife.

Mr Bouyeri, 26, a Dutch-Moroccan, faces charges of terrorism, murder and possession of an illegal firearm.

Theo van Gogh, a distant descendant of 19th-century painter Vincent van Gogh, was killed last November after his film about sexual abuse of women in Islamic society was shown on television.

Prosecutors say Mr Bouyeri intended to terrify Dutch society.

"In a letter to his family he said he had chosen to do his duty to Allah and to give his soul for paradise," prosecutor Frits van Straelen said. "[He] wanted to become a martyr."

Psychiatric reports

The film-maker begged for mercy, the court heard, but was shot seven times and then had his throat sliced.

Mohammed Bouyeri
Judges will discuss whether Mohammed Bouyeri needs tests

When a bystander yelled at him: "You can't do that!", Mr Bouyeri is alleged to have replied: "Yes, I can. Now you know what's coming to you."

The letter pinned to the victim's chest threatened the film's scriptwriter, Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Mr van Straelen said prosecutors believed Mr Bouyeri may have had help in planning the killing. Investigations are continuing into 12 other suspected Islamists arrested after the Van Gogh killing.

The court ordered psychiatric reports, even though Mr Bouyeri's lawyer said his client had taken full responsibility for his actions.

Another procedural hearing is expected in three months' time.

There has been heightened ethnic and religious tension in the Netherlands since the killing.

Mosques in several Dutch cities have been the targets of vandalism and failed arson attempts.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How van Gogh's murder has shaken Netherlands



SEE ALSO:
Van Gogh festival film withdrawn
26 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Dutch step up Muslim protection
08 Nov 04 |  Europe
Dutch fear loss of tolerance
03 Nov 04 |  Europe
Life of slain Dutch filmmaker
02 Nov 04 |  Entertainment


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