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Security at prison where Daniel Kinahan associate Ridouan Taghi is being held is relaxed

Late last year, authorities stepped up measures to secure their high-profile prisoner who is currently on trial in relation to six gangland murders

Ridouan Taghi

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Security at the Extra Secure Institution (EBI) in Vught in the Netherlands where Daniel Kinahan associate Ridouan Taghi is being held has been relaxed, it has been revealed.

A special team of anonymous, masked guards has “disappeared” according to local reports and the international drug lord is no longer subject to "unprecedented isolation,” his lawyer confirmed.

Late last year, authorities stepped up security at the EBI and took unprecedented strict measures to secure their high-profile prisoner who is currently on trial in relation to six gangland murders.

This was in response to the arrest in October of his lawyer and cousin Youssef Taghi, who is suspected of plotting a "violent outbreak".

Local media reports later claimed that the infamous crime boss had hatched three specific plans to escape, prompting a police investigation.

According to documents obtained by the Dutch NRC publication, Youssef Taghi had forwarded messages from Taghi from behind bars to an unknown person.

Ridouan Taghi (top) and Daniel Kinahan (bottom)

These concerned plans to help Taghi escape either the Extra Secure Institution or the court bunker in Amsterdam-Osdorp, or by taking prison staff hostage.

According to the NRC reports, Taghi had “worked on three different escape scenarios”.

“The documents show that Ridouan Taghi commissioned work on three scenarios for his escape. Two of these should have been performed by trained professionals, reports revealed.

The reports further claimed that Youssef took pictures with his iPad of messages written by Taghi. Those photos, the police claim, were probably passed on via Signal, an app that sends encrypted messages, on a special telephone that Youssef had been given.

After the arrest of Youssef Taghi, four employees of the EBI went into hiding, in fear of violent retribution from those connected to Taghi.

A '26Mandel' investigation revealed that he and his cousin were looking for the addresses of prison staff. Information from NRC showed that these four EBI employees were on a list and they were later removed for their own safety.

Taghi later lodged a complaint with the Supervisory Committee of the Vught Penitentiary Institution against the strict prison regime that had been in force for more than two months.

According to his lawyer Van der Horst, these “detention conditions were contrary to (inter)national laws and regulations, including the European Prison Rules, the Nelson Mandela Rules and the ECHR.

"Part of the approach was the refusal of meaningful human contact, there was no talking with the client. This team also carried out work in an amateurish and unprofessional manner. Therefore, these detention conditions must be assessed as unlawful."

However, these new measures were lifted last December, Van der Horst said in a written response.

"The current conditions of Taghi's detention are now more or less the same as before the event on October 8, 2021,” he said.

“The 'regular' staff have returned and the 'externals' have disappeared."

Sunday World previously revealed how the Dutch military had to be drafted in to help secure the prison after the authorities received a tip-off Kinahan associates planned to hijack a helicopter to spring him.

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It’s understood Taghi, who was a guest at the Dubai wedding of Daniel Kinahan, along with mobsters Ricardo Riquelme Vega, aka El Rico, caged assassin Naoufal Fassih and Italian Camorra boss Raffaele Imperiale, had already paid for his own escape before he was arrested, in a plan which was supposed to be set into action should he not get bail.

Kinahan and Taghi are said to be part of a 'super cartel' that is believed to have imported a staggering €23 billion worth of cocaine into Europe.

But since they hit their peak in 2017 - when they shared each other's company at Kinahan's lavish wedding at the seven-star Burj-Al-Arab hotel in Dubai - their fortunes have waned.

Kinahan is now one of only two of the mob bosses who still remain at large, but the authorities are believed to be closing in and close to shutting down the organisation.

While named in the High Court as a top-level drugs boss, Kinahan is yet to face charges for any crimes in Ireland.

Things began to fall part not long after Kinahan's wedding, when Ricardo 'El Rico' Riquelme Vega was the first to fall, arrested in his native Chile and extradited to The Netherlands to face trial.

In June 2021, the Chilean was jailed for 11 years for organising murders and laundering drug money.

A mobile phone seized from him included a video that featured Kinahan as well as Italian mob boss Rafaelle Imperiale, another of his wedding guests currently behind bars.

During El Rico's trial it was explicitly alleged that Kinahan, El Rico, Imperiale, Ridouan Taghi and Nafoufal Fassih were operating in unison as a drugs cartel.

Fassih was jailed for 18 years for attempted murder in Holland after he was extradited from Dublin in 2017, where he had been arrested in a Kinahan safehouse.

Next to go was Taghi, arrested in Dubai in his luxury bolthole with photos taken shortly after his arrest showing him to be surprised and dishevelled.

Sent back to The Netherlands, Taghi is now one of 16 defendants in the Marengo trial in which they are accused of ordering six murders between 2015 and 2017.

The Marengo trial - its name randomly assigned by computer - is ongoing with the defendants being brought to the heavily fortified De Bunker court under tight security.

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