Alleged head of Dutch 'killing machine' flown home from UAE

Dutch prosecutors say a fugitive accused of leading a crime organization they described as an "oiled killing machine" is back in the Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- One of the Netherlands' most-wanted fugitives, the alleged leader of a crime organization that prosecutors described as an "oiled killing machine," is back in the country after Dutch police picked him up in Dubai, authorities said Thursday.

Ridouan Taghi, who had been on the run for years until his arrest in Dubai on Monday, now faces trial for allegedly ordering a string of gangland slayings and attempted hits.

Prosecutors accuse Taghi, 41, in the murders of five people, including career criminals and a crime blogger.

"For security reasons, he was flown to the Netherlands by chartered plane with a police escort," prosecutors said in a statement.

The trial of Taghi and his alleged partner, Said Razzouki, already started with neither man there and is set to continue on Feb. 27. Razzouki is still on the run.

The case rose to international prominence earlier this year when the lawyer for a trial witness - an alleged hit man who agreed to testify in exchange for a lighter sentence - was shot dead in Amsterdam.

The September slaying of lawyer Derk Wiersum sparked outrage in the Netherlands and led to calls for a tougher crackdown on organized crime.

Taghi has not been charged with involvement in Wiersum's death.