AZ supporters receive lower penalties than demanded due to police error

AZ supporters receive lower penalties than demanded due to police error
The riots in Alkmaar

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Two AZ supporters involved in the Ascension Day riots received much lower sentences this morning than the prosecution had demanded. The court in Alkmaar decided so because images of the two were shown on the TV program Opsporing Verzocht, even though they had both long since turned themselves in at the police station by then.

“I understand hectic and busy police work, but it did not go well,” the judge ruled. Justice demanded a four-week prison sentence against both men, two of which were suspended. However, they do not have to go to jail. The court sentenced one man to 150 hours of community service, of which he must perform 144 hours, reports NH News. The other man received 120 hours of community service. The two are not allowed in and around the AZ stadium for a year.

They are part of a group of AZ supporters who stormed the main stand of the AZ stadium on May 18, after the Alkmaarders were eliminated by West Ham United at home in the Conference League semifinals. Yesterday, seven people were already on trial, including a 38-year-old man. He was sentenced to eight days in jail for assaulting a West Ham supporter. He was also given 150 hours of community service and banned from the AZ stadium.

Deliberate and hooded

Seven men are on trial again today. This morning it was the turn of a 45-year-old man from Alkmaar and a 26-year-old man from Egmond aan den Hoef. The 45-year-old man admitted to “deliberately and hoodedly” seeking confrontation with supporters of West Ham United.

“I can’t remember, but I see it on footage. If I hit someone, I’m sorry,” the man said in court today. The other man said he attacked a “fairly burly gentleman.” “When I realized what I was doing, I immediately regretted it. I created a situation for people and became more and more ashamed.”

Unlike some other rioters, both men reported to the police station soon after the riots themselves, one of the two even went to talk to the police several times on Sunday and Monday. This was to prevent images and photos of them from being shown in the broadcast of Opsporing Verzocht on Tuesday night, May 22.

Emotional damage

Still, the footage was shown. “An acquaintance said he had seen me on television,” the 45-year-old man from Alkmaar told me this morning. He contacted the police again on the late evening of May 22, asking if the pictures would then at least be removed from the website of Opsporing Verzocht could be removed, but that didn’t happen until late the next morning.

“My marriage is suffering. There is emotional damage to my children,” the man said. The man from Egmond was also recognized on television. “That was a bit of a shock,” he said this morning.

According to the prosecutor, a factor in the broadcast of the footage was that the men denied at the police station that they had committed any crimes. Indeed, the videos do show them, so the men were not then linked to the suspects in the footage.

But the judge didn’t think that was an excuse. According to her, it “didn’t go well in both cases” and the police should have been aware of the Opsporing Verzocht “have to look very carefully.”

“It should not have happened,” the prosecutor’s office informs NH News by email. “Possibly the short time frame played a role.”

Kayleigh Williams