TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden
By Scott Roxborough
BERLIN (Hollywood Reporter) - A Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the September 11 attacks.
In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled that there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.
The Netherlands, home to "Big Brother" creator Endemol, is known for being on the cutting edge of format-based television. But even for Dutch standards, "Devil's Advocate," from Amsterdam production house AVRO, pushes the envelope.
The show features star defense attorney Gerard Spong standing up for some of the world's worst criminals.
In the latest show, Spong was able to convince the jury that bin Laden's connection to September 11 was a product of "Western propaganda." The jury also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove bin Laden was the real head of terrorist network al-Qaida. The jury did rule, however, that bin Laden is a "terrorist who has misused Islam."
The show is certain to provide further ammunition in the already heated Dutch debate over immigration and the country's large Muslim minority. The Netherlands saw a sharp rise in anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiment after the 2004 murder of Dutch director Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist.
Spong has been at the center of the debate, supporting legal action against anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders.
(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)