Convicted terrorist seeks prison leave to complete business degree
A Dutch national of Moroccan descent, who is serving nine years in a maximum security jail for membership of a terrorist organisation and plotting attacks against political targets, has asked for leave from prison so that he can complete his business economics degree.
Samir Azzouz (27) – whose targets for assassination allegedly included former prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and the Somali-born writer and critic of Islamic extremism Aayan Hirsi Ali – says completing the degree would aid his reintegration into society when he is released in September 2013.
Azzouz, – who was arrested in Ukraine in 2003 on his way to Chechnya – was also convicted of recruiting for “the armed struggle against the enemies of Islam”. He was most recently arrested by counter-terrorist detectives in his cell at Nieuw Vosseveld jail just last month on suspicion of attempting to plot attacks from within the facility.
The authorities have so far opposed granting leave to Azzouz , saying he is dangerous and likely to abscond.
His wife, Abida, last year complained about the harsh penal regime being imposed on her husband, in jail since 2006.
Her complaints sparked a huge public debate – during which it was pointed out that, apart from his convictions, Azzouz had been linked to police investigations into attacks allegedly being planned on Schiphol airport, Borssele nuclear power station and the headquarters of the Dutch security service, AIVD, outside The Hague.