Analysis: Dutch Police Cover-up of 60+ Reports and Honor-Based Violence in Zeist Fire Murder Case

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On Monday, December 7, 2009, young beautiful student Narges Achikzei (23) was doused with motor oil in front of her own apartment in a flat on the Laan van Vollenhove in Zeist and set on fire by the sister of a friend of her fiancé Haroen Mehraban. The brutal murder happened two weeks before her forced marriage and a week before the false criminal trial against her former employer for insult, libel and slander.

An analysis of 240 testimonies showed that police officers covered up honor-related violence and got away with it. This research project does not link to evidence. For those who wish to review the evidence, please refer to the timeline on the murder of Narges Achikzei, where all reports, mutations, verdicts and accusations related to Internet scams are linked.

Police officials: 'Narges victim of jealous love rival'

Narges Achikzei came to the Netherlands with her family from Afghanistan in 2003 as a 16-year-old refugee. The family was granted asylum and started a new life in a new country in Zeist. In 2007 and 2008, Narges worked at Advios Assurantiën under the supervision of Ralph Geissen. Ralph reportedly had a crush on her, but that love was not reciprocated. After Narges' fiancé Haroen Mehraban threatened her employer, Narges was fired by him. Ralph filed a report with the police against Narges and her fiancé for making death threats.

Ralph then allegedly stalked Narges via e-mail. Narges filed a complaint about this. As a result of that report, Ralph was questioned by a police officer in 2009. During that interrogation, the police officer got the impression that Ralph mixed up fiction and truth and had all kinds of unsubstantiated theories, which she recorded in an official report. According to the officer, Ralph admitted that he had "made a big mistake."

Narges and her fiancé were associated with large-scale Internet scams. Ralph also filed a complaint against them for fraud, extortion, threats, harassment, and solemnization of an informal Muslim marriage. Ralph himself has been summoned to appear before the court for defamation because he stalked Narges with emails and damaged her honor and good name.

In several summary proceedings, judges ordered Ralph under penalty of fines to stop stalking Narges via email and damaging her honor and good name. Narges, her fiancé, and their lawyer also petitioned for the bankruptcy of Advios Assurantiën and Ralph to claim overdue wages and collect the fines. This bankruptcy was declared by the court on September 1, 2009. Ralph did not appear at the bankruptcy hearing due to the death threat. Two fines of 15,000 euros each were imposed on Ralph for not removing various accusations against Narges, her fiancé, and lawyer. An investigation by a police officer revealed that Ralph was in love with Narges and wanted to marry her, but she rejected him because she wanted to marry her fiancé.

Around 5:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon, December 7, 2009, an alarming call came in to 112. A woman was on fire at the Geroflat on the Laan van Vollenhove in Zeist. The emergency services responded immediately. In haste, Narges was taken to the burn center in Rotterdam. Doctors did everything they could to save her life, but in vain. That same evening Narges died of her injuries. Surveillance footage is available of the suspect. These were made in the apartment before and after her act. Narges' fiancé was on the phone with her when she was attacked and informed officers that Narges told him she was opening the door to accept a package for him.

The day after the murder, the Public Prosecution Service announced in a newspaper article that they are postponing the defamation case of the deceased woman from Zeist, which was scheduled for December 15, 2009. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the trial against the 32-year-old former employer R.G. from Utrecht, due to stalking via email and defamation, has been postponed for further investigation. 'There is indeed a probation report, but more psychological or psychiatric research is needed,' says spokesperson Mary Hallebeek of the Public Prosecution Service. A connection between these two cases is being investigated by the detective team, as well as all other possible motives. There had been months of conflict.

Narges is Afghan, and there are those who immediately thought it would be honor killing. But police have no indication that this is actually the case. TGO Gero team leader Tijn Keuss stated on television that "there is simply no evidence of an honor killing," and stressed that the family had nothing to do with it. He called it adamant that the community points to Narges' family as perpetrators and assured again that it can be ruled out that this is a case of honor-related violence. In a conversation with the lawyer of Narges' fiancée Mr. Peter Ruijzendaal, Tijn Keuss allegedly said that Ralph was frustrating the investigation with his publications on the Internet.

Parliamentary questions from the VVD to the Minister of Justice about whether Narges was a victim of honor-related violence and whether it was true that in this case an Islamic marriage had been performed without a prior civil marriage were never answered by the investigation team "in the interest of the investigation."

The Public Prosecutor, who had a meeting scheduled in his agenda with Narges and her lawyer to discuss their defamation case against Ralph, decided years after the murder to drop all charges. The same Public Prosecutor also dropped Ralph's complaint against Narges' fiancé and lawyer as instigators of the murder.

Among Narges' family and friends, there is a suspicion that the murderer acted out of jealousy because Narges was about to get married and lead a very happy life. They contradict the suggestion that it was an honor killing. The suspect, an acquaintance of Narges Achikzei and her friend, refuses to explain why she murdered Narges and how exactly she carried it out.

According to the police, there are numerous witnesses who testify that the suspect had a strong affection for Narges' future husband and that she cried when it was announced that the wedding was imminent. A friend of the suspect stated in court that she burst into tears upon hearing that Narges and Haroen were getting married, revealing her secret love for Narges' future spouse and her hatred towards Narges. From the public gallery, the murderer was shouted at: "You couldn't have gotten him anyway!" When questioned by the judges if she was jealous of Narges, the suspect denied: "I had nothing against her!"

The murderer denied being jealous of Narges on two occasions in court. When Haroen stated during his victim impact statement that he would prefer to set the murderer on fire himself, the session was temporarily adjourned to calm emotions. During that break, Haroen fainted in the presence of his friends. The court in Utrecht ruled that there were no indications of pathological jealousy or vengeful actions by the suspect. The court in Arnhem sentenced the woman, who was connected to Narges' circle of acquaintances, to 12 years in prison with involuntary psychiatric treatment, noting that "the motive remains unclear to date, although there are indications in the case file that the suspect may have been jealous of Narges."

Public Prosecutor Mr. Rob van Noort later stated in a television broadcast that Haroen's victim impact statement had deeply affected him and that shortly after Narges was set on fire, he himself had been present at the crime scene to gather information.

Harro Kras argues in a magazine that tunnel vision within the police force can be exacerbated by pressure from the public and media. He cites the murder of Narges as an example: "The media were all over it. Experts lined up to give their views on this so-called honor killing. In the meantime, a female suspect from the circle of friends is being tried for this murder, where honor killing is clearly not the motive. The case demonstrates the strength of the investigative team. It continued to critically examine all scenarios."

The police officer who assisted Narges with the defamation case against Ralph also filed two complaints against Narges' former employer for defamation, slander, and insult. In January 2017, she denied lying in her official reports and accused Ralph of calling her a corrupt police officer who had twisted the truth and indirectly responsible for Narges' murder in a video on YouTube. In her official report, the following quote from Ralph's YouTube video was included: 'Corrupt officer MDNDR010 from Police Zeist lied so that Narges Achikzei's former employer would be prosecuted by the Public Prosecutor for defamation, slander, and email stalking. Then Narges was doused with gasoline and set on fire by a sister of a friend of her ex-husband. Because she wanted to marry a man of her own choice and was in love with a Dutch man, the police invented jealousy as a motive to cover up corruption, fraud, and honor killing.' According to the police officer, Ralph meant himself by that Dutch man. She finds it extremely insulting and hurtful that Ralph has portrayed her in the media in this way with a photo he took from her Facebook account. She perceives it as a serious and intense violation of her privacy, and moreover, it damages her reputation as an officer. The officer alleges that Ralph is spreading big lies and insults about her.

The police chief, following in the footsteps of his colleague, also filed a complaint against Ralph. The police chief admitted that he had only tangentially been involved in the investigation and claimed that he felt offended because he had read an email stating that he had dirty hands in the Narges murder case and that officers had acted "collectively corrupt." Ralph suffered another defeat in court and was convicted of insulting the police in Zeist based on the report from the police officer and two of her superiors. Ralph was prohibited from accusing the police officer and the police chief of corruption. If he does so within a trial period of 2 years, he could face 7 days of imprisonment.

State investigators, honor killing experts, chief prosecutors and inspectors all have great faith in the expertise and professionalism of their colleagues. None of them were willing to confirm that the police had concealed over 60 complaints and an honor killing. On the contrary, they argued that the police investigation showed that Narges was not a victim of honor-related violence, but a victim of a jealous love rival. That notoriously partisan investigators rely on patently fabricated stories from Narges' family and friends unfortunately does not interest state investigators, honor killing experts and inspectors. This particularly reflects poorly on honor killing experts because they have been taught that family members of honor killing victims are not a reliable source of information.

Neighbors: 'Narges victim of honor killing and because of extortion of company'

Narges Achikzei claimed to come from a respectable family. According to rumors, one of Narges' ancestors was said to belong to the group of founders of the Taliban, and the family lived in luxury in Afghanistan until the Americans invaded the country. Subsequently, the family fled to a city near Moscow. In 2003, Narges and her family moved from Russia to the Netherlands. Upon arrival, Narges and her sister Sahar were registered as six months younger by their parents for child benefit purposes. Narges continued to celebrate her birthday on March 18, while official documents state that she was born on September 18, 1986, in Kabul. In 2007, Narges had an uncertain residency status and was therefore not allowed to work or intern according to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). On behalf of Advios Assurantiën, director and major shareholder Ralph Geissen lodged an objection against this decision. As long as the objection procedure was ongoing and the IND had not made a final negative decision, Narges, and later her sister in 2007 and 2008, could intern and work for the insurance broker.

According to Ralph, Narges fell in love with him and preferred to marry him rather than the Afghan man her parents had chosen for her. "I will marry a man of my own choice later, otherwise I will burn in Hell!" Narges vowed. According to Ralph, Narges had the ambition to progress from an internship contract to a yearly contract to a marriage contract. Narges believed Ralph was in love with her. "Women see these things!" she told him. Narges was very beautiful; by the time she was 21, seven men had asked for her hand in marriage. Narges disliked lying, did not believe in God, was accustomed to getting her way, and complained that "Afghan men always nag about money!" Abdul believed his daughter was worth her weight in gold. Prior to Narges' forced Islamic marriage, there was a noticeable change in behavior. Narges stated that she had to read the Quran, distance herself from Ralph, refused to do the dishes because it was not in her employment contract, asked for more money, and said that Ralph needed to see a psychiatrist.

Ralph fired Narges after a death threat was sent from her business e-mail address on May 7, 2008, during a period when she was working from home. The day after the dismissal, Ralph received an email from Narges' lawyer, Mr. Peter Ruijzendaal, stating that his client is contesting her dismissal, disputing the sending of a death threat, and claiming to have fallen ill due to Ralph's actions, rendering her unable to work. Ruijzendaal announced a wage claim procedure, demanding payment of salary, holiday pay, and 7 unused vacation days on behalf of his client as her authorized attorney. Narges had already used all of her 25 vacation days and was not entitled to payment for the 7 unused vacation days, as she had acknowledged in emails. After cursory examination, the court accepted all of Narges' lawyer's claims as true and condemned Advios Assurantiën in absentia to pay one month's salary, holiday pay, 7 unused vacation days, and the costs incurred by lawyer Ruijzendaal. Ralph did not attend the hearing due to the death threat.

Attorney Ruijzendaal emailed Ralph that he should no longer send emails to Narges. He suggested that the belongings of Advios Assurantiën in Narges' possession, such as the desk, office chair, computer, scanner/printer, and Senseo coffee machine, could be collected by appointment. Ralph had his mother and her friend visit the Achikzei family to collect the belongings. They were able to take everything except the desk.

Ruijzendaal emailed Ralph that the desk could be picked up on August 19, 2008. Ralph chose to visit the Achikzei family himself. During the meeting at Narges' parental home on Laan van Vollenhove in Zeist, Ralph was repeatedly threatened with physical violence by Haroen in the presence of the entire Achikzei family. Haroen claimed to know people who could beat up Ralph and threatened to throw the desk off the railing. All family members spoke disparagingly about Ralph. Sahar embraced Haroen and referred to him as her brother-in-law, while Abdul expressed regret for allowing his daughters to work for Advios Assurantiën. Even Narges' youngest brother made kicking motions towards Ralph on the couch and called him a fool. "They are all under my control," said Haroen. Remarkably, Narges recoiled when she saw Ralph and jumped up to protect him when her youngest brother made kicking motions towards him.

Then, Ralph received an email from lawyer Ruijzendaal with a warning that he should not post anything negative about his clients on the internet. Subsequently, Ralph found a thread on a website dedicated to combating internet scammers titled 'Scammed by N. Mehraban Account Number'. Several victims of Mrs. N. Mehraban and her partner complained that they had paid money to this seller and never received the goods. Ralph joined the disgruntled victims and mentioned that he had filed a complaint against his former employee Narges Mehraban for threats.

On December 15, 2008, a victim of N. Mehraban excitedly reported that after filing a complaint through a police officer, he had obtained the personal information of N. Mehraban. He shared this information with Ralph and requested ABN AMRO to take action against their client Narges Mehraban. The date of birth of Narges Achikzei was identical to that of Narges Mehraban: 18-09-1986.

On December 18, 2008, Narges and Haroen filed a complaint against Ralph for defamation, slander, and libel. They felt that their honor and reputation were tarnished because he linked them to the scammers N. Mehraban and her partner, after they had previously filed a report against Ralph for email stalking. They claimed that Ralph was in love with Narges and that she had rejected him, and that he could not handle this rejection, and his false accusations should be seen in that light. Narges and Haroen claimed not to know Mrs. N. Mehraban and applied for subsidy from the Legal Aid Board, so they only had to pay 100 euros to their lawyer Ruijzendaal for a civil lawsuit against Ralph and Advios Assurantiën for defamation and slander.

Ralph was invited for a police interrogation. Two officers accused him of defamation, slander, and insult, telling him that he was a pathetic man, stalking Narges, and engaging in defamation, slander, and insult. Among the documents that Ruijzendaal would submit to the court was the report of the interrogation, which stated that Ralph had admitted to making a big mistake by linking Narges Achikzei to internet scammer N. Mehraban.

The Utrecht court, after a cursory investigation, ruled in favor of Narges and convicted Advios Assurantiën and Ralph. A fine of 15,000 euros was imposed, an amount that Narges and Haroen were eager to receive as it would be useful for furnishing their home.

In the corridors of the courthouse, Ruijzendaal announced that he would ruin Ralph's life and was going to press charges himself so that he can deal with Ralph in private as well.

Ruijzendaal subsequently filed a complaint against Ralph and Advios Assurantiën for defamation and initiated legal proceedings. The Utrecht court granted all of Ruijzendaal's claims and convicted Ralph and Advios Assurantiën for defamation, imposing a fine of 15,000 euros. As the payment of the imposed fines was not made, Narges, Haroen, and their lawyer Ruijzendaal filed for the bankruptcy of Advios Assurantiën and Ralph on September 1, 2009. Ralph did not attend the bankruptcy hearing due to the death threat.

On December 7, 2009, shortly before the criminal case against Ralph on December 15 and her forced civil marriage to Haroen on December 20, Narges was doused with motor oil and set on fire by the sister of a friend of Haroen.

Narges' family and Haroen pointed to Ralph as the likely perpetrator because he allegedly threatened her with burning her alive because of her refusal to marry him. A detective told Ralph that all the Afghans they had spoken to had mentioned his name, and he qualified the accusations that Ralph was a murderer as the worst form of defamation. The detective said Ralph had done his best to free her, which Ralph confirmed. On Radio M Utrecht on December 10, 2009, an anonymous detective was quoted: 'Woman victim of an honor killing and because of extortion of a company'. This message was picked up by Elsevier, De Telegraaf and other media companies. Friends of Narges who complained about this honor killing on a forum for Afghan girls were threatened by family members of Haroen and summoned to stop spreading negative stories about the family. The trustee, Dingemans, who was appointed by the Utrecht court to handle the bankruptcy of Advios Assurantiën and Ralph, told a journalist that in his opinion there had been "mutual affection" between Narges and Ralph.

Despite Ralph's attempts to urge the police and the Public Prosecutor's Office to tell the truth to the court and the public, police officers and prosecutors chose to repeat the completely fabricated story of Narges' family to the court, portraying Narges as the happiest girl on earth.

Shortly after Narges' murder, Haroen and lawyer Ruijzendaal announced a civil lawsuit against Ralph for implicating them as the likely perpetrators/masterminds. They demanded money again, 5,000 euros per person as an advance payment for all the damages they had suffered due to Ralph's negative statements. Judges, again after a cursory investigation, granted all the claims of the gentlemen. Ralph did not attend the court hearing due to death threats.

Lawyer Ausma advised his client to remain silent about her motive and told her that TBS (institutional psychiatric treatment) would be better for her than a regular prison sentence. Ausma found an expert who wrote a report stating that his client suffers from multiple personality disorder.

Police officers who had assisted Narges and Haroen in their legal extortion campaign against Ralph, and who were also involved in covering up the honor killing, filed a complaint against Ralph for defamation, slander, and libel because they deny behaving corruptly. Judges, again after a cursory investigation, believed the fabricated stories told by officers under oath and convicted Ralph. Ralph is prohibited from mentioning the names of the officers who caused significant trouble for Narges and him in a negative context; otherwise, he faces 7 days in jail.


Analysis of 240 testimonials

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