Mohammed Bouyeri, the confessed killer of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was sentenced to life imprisonment Tuesday, the maximum sentence possible for a murder that stunned the country, heightened ethnic tensions and raised concerns about homegrown Islamic terrorism.
Mohammed Bouyeri, an Amsterdam-born Muslim, was convicted of killing Theo van Gogh as he cycled to work in Amsterdam on November 2, 2004. He was found guilty of shooting and stabbing Van Gogh, slashing his throat and pinning a note to his body with a knife.
Judge Udo Willem Bentinck told the court Bouyeri had murdered Van Gogh in a gruesome manner without mercy and had shown no remorse for his actions.
"The murder of Theo van Gogh provoked a wave of revulsion and disdain in the Netherlands. Theo van Gogh was mercilessly slaughtered," Reuters quoted the judge as saying.
"There is only one fitting punishment in this case and that is a life sentence. You are thus convicted to a life sentence," said the judge.
In a surprise declaration during his trial, Bouyeri said that he had acted in the name of Islam and felt no pain for Van Gogh’s family. After reciting Islamic prayers, he told the courtroom that if given the chance he would "do exactly the same thing," report The Times.
The killing led to dozens of arson attacks against Islamic schools and mosques and has strained relations with the country's 1 million Muslim immigrants.
Van Gogh, a distant relative of the 19th-century painter Vincent van Gogh, was a social critic and columnist who attacked the treatment of women in fundamentalist Islamic households in a short film, "Submission," which offended many Muslims, the AP reports. The movie features images of a Muslim woman wearing a transparent veil.
Van Gogh's earlier films include Blind Date, which won the Dutch Golden Calf movie award in 1996 for directing, and Cool!, a film released last year, which featured Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm playing a bank manager, Bloomberg reminds.