THE HAGUE – Dutch judges on Friday sentenced a Turkish-born man to life in prison for a “terrorist” shooting on a tram in the city of Utrecht that killed four people.
Gokmen Tanis, 38, was found guilty of opening fire with a pistol on a tram while shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is greater”) in March 2019.
Tanis “wreaked death and destruction for two minutes and nine seconds,” the court in Utrecht said in a statement.
He was “convicted of the shooting of a terrorist nature in a tram in Utrecht,” the murder of four people, and the attempted murder of 17 others.
“Only a life sentence is appropriate,” the court said.
He killed a 19-year-old woman and three men aged 28, 49 and 74 while around a dozen other people were injured.
Tanis, who had a criminal record for rape and theft, was arrested the day after the attack. He later confessed.
Prosecutors said he had left a letter in his getaway car saying that “I do this for my faith, you want to kill Muslims and you want to steal our faith from us, but you will not succeed. Allah is great.”
The court, however, questioned whether he was an actual jihadi, citing experts who said his interest in radicalization was less because of religious belief and more because of his “own problems and failures in life.”
The trial was interrupted several times when Tanis spat at his lawyer, made obscene gestures at the judges, and then provoked one of the victims as she gave her testimony.