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Thu 19 Dec 2019 03:50 PM

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'Most wanted' Dutch criminal deported from Dubai

Moroccan-born Ridouan Taghi was arrested in Dubai on murder and drug trafficking charges earlier this week

'Most wanted' Dutch criminal deported from Dubai

Moroccan-born Ridouan Taghi, the main suspect in a huge ongoing trial of the so-called "Mocro-mafia" in the Netherlands, was held on Monday at a luxury villa in the Gulf city.

Dutch police flew the country's most wanted criminal out of Dubai two days after his arrest in the emirate on murder and drug trafficking charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

Moroccan-born Ridouan Taghi, the main suspect in a huge ongoing trial of the so-called "Mocro-mafia" in the Netherlands, was held on Monday at a luxury villa in the Gulf city.

The 41-year-old Taghi was "deported by the authorities in Dubai on Wednesday and transferred to the Netherlands last night," the Dutch public prosecutor said in a statement.

"For safety reasons, he flew to the Netherlands in a chartered aircraft under the guidance of the Dutch police."

Taghi's lawyer however said Dutch authorities had "kidnapped" him, and raised questions about how the deportation was able to happen so quickly.

"This is contrary to all kinds of international legal rules. It seems that this must have happened unlawfully," Inez Weski said.

Dutch justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said the deportation was "in full compliance with the rules of the rule of law", adding that it was possible because Taghi had illegally entered Dubai.

Dubai police said this week that Taghi had entered illegally using a passport in someone else's name in 2016 and had since been living at a villa where the "curtains of the house were always closed".

The major Dutch organised crime trial in which Taghi is the main suspect, involving five murders and several more attempted murders, will continue on February 27, prosecutors said.

Taghi attracted international attention in September when a lawyer for a state witness in the trial was shot dead near his home in Amsterdam.

Taghi is also wanted in Morocco over a shooting at a cafe in 2017 that he allegedly orchestrated.

Dutch media reported that Taghi was now being held at the high security Vught prison, which is also home to notorious gangster Willem "The Nose" Holleeder, who was jailed in July.

Holleeder was convicted of ordering the murders of five people, including his accomplice in the sensational 1980s kidnapping of a Heineken beer tycoon.

The Netherlands has long been known for its tolerant attitude towards marijuana but increasingly faces significant problems from drugs and the criminal underworld.