Man acquitted after saying hackers sent antisemitic death threats from computer
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Man acquitted after saying hackers sent antisemitic death threats from computer

Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog blamed the verdict on negligence by police, accusing them of failing to record the death threats made against Gabriela Hirschberg by her neighbour

Cyber attack
Cyber attack

A Dutch judge acquitted a man who said that hackers took over his computer and posted antisemitic death threats against his Jewish  neighbours, with whom he had had a decade-long dispute.

The Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog, the Center for Information and Documentation in Israel, or CIDI, in a statement Monday blamed last week’s verdict on negligence by police, saying they failed to record the multiple death threats made against Gabriela Hirschberg by her  neighbour despite repeated complaints.

The Amsterdam police did not immediately reply to a query by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency requesting a reaction.

Hirschberg, 68, complained to police about the  neighbour, whose ancestors come from the former Dutch colony of Surinam, for excessive noise, The Telegraaf reported. Since 2009, they filed multiple complaints against each other, including for the destruction of property.

According to the newspaper, the  neighbour, who has not been named in the Dutch media, wrote multiple times about “gassing the vermin,” adding “I want to skin them and make lampshades from them” about Hirschberg and her partner, Hans Polak.

Along with the police reports, Hirschberg complained to Ymere, the housing association that owns the apartment block where she lived. In 2016, a judge ruled in favour of Ymere’s injunction to have Hirschberg, not the  neighbour, evicted because of the dispute. The association said Hirschberg also had rented out a room in her apartment without permission and was over £1,500 ($2,000) behind on her rent, AT5 reported. The debt has since been resolved.

Police did not record the death threats and the IP address from which they were made that she flagged to them in criminal complaints about the  neighbour’s conduct, CIDI wrote. The threats have since been removed. This made it impossible for the judge ruling in the criminal trial to ascertain the  neighbour was the author of the posts.

“Such negligence undermines confidence in the rule of law and the police,” CIDI wrote. “The victims strongly suspect police never took their complaint seriously.”

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