Public Prosecution Service demands up to 9 years in prison in ‘torture container’ appeal

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On Monday, in the extra-secure courtroom at Schiphol, the Public Prosecution Service demanded prison sentences of up to nine years against the eight suspects in the criminal case surrounding the so-called torture container in Wouwse Plantage.

The Public Prosecution Service demanded 33 months in prison against 51-year-old main suspect Roger “Piet Costa” P., as imposed by the court last year. That is the maximum possible sentence because he has already been sentenced to fifteen years in a parallel drug case.

In the summer of 2020, seven shipping containers were discovered in a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage, which together formed a cell complex. Six containers were set up as private prisons. They were isolated inside and provided with handcuffs and a chemical toilet.

The seventh sea container was considered a so-called ‘torture container’, although the suspects called it ‘the treatment room’. Inside that container was a prepared dental chair, complete with cuffs, straps and straps to bind arms, legs and head. There were also pliers and other tools for that purpose.

On appeal, the Public Prosecution Service demands prison sentences of up to nine years against the eight members of the criminal organization that was responsible for the containers.

Because the main suspect Roger “Piet Costa” P. has already been sentenced to fifteen years in prison in a major cocaine case, the Public Prosecution Service is demanding 33 months in prison on appeal. That is the maximum sentence he can still receive.

Another suspect, MB, who according to the Public Prosecution Service is the right-hand man of the main suspect, was previously sentenced to eight years in prison in another case. The same sentence was therefore demanded against him on Monday, which is also the maximum sentence that can still be imposed on him in this case.

The remaining six suspects were sentenced to prison terms of between one and nine years. All suspects have been charged with participation in a criminal organization. The judiciary also accuses them of having jointly, and with a certain division of roles, preparatory actions for committing ‘heinous crimes’ in the containers.

Ten of the eleven suspects were convicted in May 2022. They were given prison sentences of one to nine years. The case of main suspect Robin van O. was stopped during the substantive hearing because he was terminally ill and was no longer able to come to court. He died of cancer in June last year.

The police discovered the case partly through the hack of an EncroChat server, which was used for mutual messaging between the people involved in the warehouses. When it was clear where the containers were located, the police installed cameras in and around both warehouses. In the following months, recordings were made of all work and other activities in this way.

This made it clear what the plans were for the containers. According to the Public Prosecution Service, it was mainly about settling a conflict about money. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the nature of the messages was shocking: ‘We must have enough straps to fasten, Ti reps, Duck tape, Specy fairing for water boarding, Pliers set for nails, cutters for fingers and toes.’

The messages also talked about kidnapping someone’s wife and child as a means of exerting pressure to pay an amount of 30 million euros.

The court will make its ruling on December 13.

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