Amsterdam (AFP)

Two suspects appeared in Amsterdam court for the first time on Monday for the July murder of the Netherlands' best-known criminal journalist, shot dead in broad daylight on a street in the capital.

Delano G., 21, is accused of shooting journalist Peter R. de Vries as he was leaving a television studio after being invited to a show.

The murder of Peter R. de Vries, who was an advisor and confidant to the main prosecution witness in a major drug lord trial, shocked the Netherlands and sparked convictions across Europe.

Kamil E., a Polish national, pleaded his innocence at a preliminary hearing before the Amsterdam court, which said the trial on the merits is expected to open in spring 2022.

"I didn't kill anyone, I didn't know anything about the murder and I didn't see any weapons," Kamil E. said, adding that two men he didn't know gave him the keys to the car, one Renault Kadjar, and that he had been instructed to transport someone to Amsterdam, without him knowing why.

Delano G. asserted his right to silence.

The prosecution believes that CCTV camera footage, witness statements, telephone records and DNA analyzes prove the guilt of the two men, arrested less than an hour after the incident, in a car near The Hague.

Four shell casings found at the scene of the murder are believed to have come from a weapon found in the car that carried the DNA of Delano G.

Prosecutors also said a man matching Kamil E.'s description was seen guarding a parking lot used by Peter R. de Vries two weeks before the murder.

The journalist, who first rose to prominence for his work on the 1983 kidnapping of millionaire Freddy Heineken, died in hospital nine days after the shooting.

© 2021 AFP

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